I figured that being on a restricted diet for a few days and then doing a day and a half of fasting wouldn’t be that big of a deal. There were other aspects of this particular ordeal that I remember as being worse. (And I’m sure they will be.)

But I must say that the “no big deal” facets of the experience are more of a big deal than I remember or expected. I think part of it has to do with the psychological aspects of being denied something, of being told “no” in a sense that seems unfair, which has never been something I dealt with particularly well.

What I notice is how the routine has been upset and my subconscious is constantly trying to get it back on track. No breakfast? It’s amazing how often I’ve found myself wandering into the kitchen and then not sure why I was going there until I have that, “Oh, yeah, THAT – sorry, no” moment.

I also didn’t realize how many snack type foods I kept at my desk. But then I keep catching myself reaching for them without thinking about it.

No Diet Coke? My caffeine substrate of choice is off-limits? Now THAT‘s a freaking crime!

But worse of all, although not strictly part of the fasting, is the prohibition for days against any aspirin or ibuprofen. Let me tell you, I would merrily kill right now for a couple of Extra Strength Excedrin washed down with a cold Diet Coke.

Instead I can have water.

I might be cranky today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health, Paul

No Context For You – September 18th

What’s a guy got to do to get a day off around here?

What? You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me!

Oh, okay, if I must…


Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Paul, Photography

So Many Buttons & Levers

So many buttons & levers & instruments (and they’re all in different places!) and struts and new things!

(click to enbiggenate)

A small panorama from the back seat of the SNJ.

A lever and at least one gauge that I’ve never used before, since I’ve never flown a plane with a constant speed prop.

On the left side of the seat (you can’t see it in this view) is a big lever with a yellow knob, and at the bottom center of the panel are two green lights. The green lights are good because we were on the ground and the landing gear was down. Another new thing for me.

Also the first time with a stick instead of a “control yoke” – known to you and I as a steering wheel.

I have my pilot’s license. We need pilots at the CAF, particularly on the lower end aircraft like this one. (Everyone wants to fly the fighters or the bombers, the trainers are the poor sisters of the group.) If I could ever catch a break on my time demands (or make one) and could get current again in a “normal” aircraft (a Cessna 172 or 150 usually) then I could start training in the PT-19 and in a year or two…

1 Comment

Filed under CAF, Panorama, Photography

Restricted Diet

It’s striking to me how much a relatively small change can have a proportionately much larger effect on our lives.

For example, for the next few days I’m on a somewhat restricted diet. No nuts, no fruits, lots of bland stuff like cottage cheese, applesauce, and so on.

I’m not a “foodie.” I don’t get too worked up about what I eat aside from these days watching my carbs and watching my weight. But eating a healthier diet has never been an issue with me, so I don’t feel deprived.

But when you take away a chunk of those food options, even some of the healthy ones, I find that my daily habits start to bump up against a steady stream of “Wait, can I eat that? No?! Shazzbatt!!” moments.

It’s not the end of the world. I’m not starving. I’m not dying. But I do have to think and be aware of an array of new things that before were just habit, reflex, or background processes.

That’s a pain in the ass!

1 Comment

Filed under Paul

White Knight’s Response

When confronted with the Red Queen’s Race, where one must run into the wind as fast as one can just to stay in the same place and to get anywhere one must run twice as fast, perhaps the response is to remember the lesson of the sticks and strings.

Instead of running, go flying.

It’s an SNJ-5, a WWII era trainer. The SNJ designation was for Navy aircraft, but the exact same plane used by the Army Air Corp was called a Texan, and if the exact same plane was used by the English or Australians or Canadians it was a Harvard.

Where the magic happens! It’s a fully functional trainer, with a matching set of controls and instruments in the back and in the front. This is the back seat. We use it for training in addition to offering rides in it. With luck (and a little bit of available free time) I’ll be training in it in a year or so so that I can fly it myself. We’ll see.

The view forward from the back seat is somewhat restricted.

The back seat is reserved for grinning idiots who are inordinately pleased to be in a plane again, even if I’m not the PIC.

The truth is that at least once a month I get offered a ride by one or another of our pilots, all of whom know that I’m cranky if I spend all day sitting at my desk doing “financial shit.” (That’s a technical, accounting term. Don’t use it at home.) And every time, because I’m always being buried under work and deadlines, I always politely decline.

Today I had just written something in the last twelve hours about not having fun. And I was “strongly encouraged” to find something fun to do this weekend, even if I was being buried. So I went!

Waiting to take off, there was a hawk sitting on the wind sock. In fact, there were a LOT of hawks out there today. There was one point where we were waiting to taxi after landing and I was watching at least seven or eight of them at once off to the side of the runway, chasing each other. (Which, now that I think of it, may well be a euphemism for why there are so many hawks…)

Here’s Camarillo from about 900 feet on final approach.

All we were doing was “pattern work” – taking off and doing a series of left turns in a long, squarish oval which ended up with us making a landing at the other end of the runway we took off from. Four trips around the pattern, one a “touch & go” which is always fun.

On the downwind leg, here’s my weekend office. The CAF ramp and four hangars in an “L” shape are where I’ve taken a few hundred of the pictures you’ve seen here over the years.

It was a really nice day for flying, but a little warm in the cockpit. As you can see, it’s a very nice little greenhouse.

Back in the hangar at the end of the day. I was staying late because I still had to get all of my “financial shit” done, but it was so much worth it! Thanks for the ride, Matt!!


Filed under Uncategorized

Red Queen’s Race

Somewhere along the line, probably about junior high, we had a math book which had illustrations from Through the Looking Glass at the beginning of every chapter. One that I always remembered was this one:

John Tenniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

 Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Chapter 2

A very wise woman at work today told me to have fun this weekend or she would kick my ass on Monday (I’m paraphrasing) and that got me to thinking tonight, with this picture being where I ended up.

Part of the route that got me here was realizing that this was the fifth night in a row where it was suddenly 23:30 or later and I had gotten so wrapped up in work pretty much since the moment I got home from the office (which was way after 20:30 tonight) that I hadn’t relaxed or breathed or done much of anything “fun.” It’s not that I don’t want to have fun, and I most assuredly don’t want to have my ass kicked on Monday (and she can and will do it, trust me!), it’s just that I’ve got so damn much to do!

One route, of course, would be to do less, to take on fewer responsibilities. There’s no law that says that I have to take on a volunteer position that takes up so much of my time and adds so much stress. And “volunteer” implies (correctly) that I can walk away and be a not-volunteer.

But that’s not in my nature. I would like to get out at some point, but I want to do it on my terms and I want to fulfill the responsibilities that I’ve agreed to. I don’t quit – there’s a whole psychological package behind that, but the end result is the same. Walking away is harder on me that sticking with it. At least, we haven’t yet found the point where that balance shifts.

So (and this also relates to that “marathon mentality” that I’ve referred to) the outlook is to suck it up, work harder, sleep less, believe that “the only way out is through,” and when I get caught up (I know, I can hear everyone laughing, but I’m going to finish this thought anyway) then I can slow down.

Which puts me in the Red Queen’s Race. If I want to get anywhere, I have to run twice as fast. Even if I’m already running as fast as I can.

I’ll be there on time Monday morning for my ass kicking.

1 Comment

Filed under Paul

Make Art – September 13th

Learn from your mistakes.

One mistake, for example, might be picking an “innocuous and innocent” picture to post from your Camera Roll since you’re busier than god and short on time to write something – only to end up with your subconscious going off on a rant in a direction that you never saw coming.

Doesn’t mean it wasn’t true. Doesn’t mean that it didn’t need to get said. Doesn’t mean that I’m sorry I said it.

But it was interesting in retrospect. An extremely complex yet potentially chaotic system there between the eyeballs and the ears. You never can tell when a simple input will bring about a massively oversize and unexpected response, way out of proportion to what was expected.

Makes you wonder when that next innocent tidbit is going to go hypergolic and take your cerebellum off on a Nantucket sleigh ride.

1 Comment

Filed under Art