Category Archives: CAF

PBJ & Fence

We’ve captured a PBJ!

Got her fenced in!

She’ll never get away from us now!

Wait, she’s on the same side of the fence as that runway thing…

We’re over here with this really loud wedding thing…

Maybe it matters which side of the fence you’re on.

 

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Filed under CAF, Photography

In My Copious Free Time…

…I need to be hitting the books, aka the “rusty pilot” training video series that I ordered about five weeks ago and have yet to crack open.

As of today, another hurdle overcome to get back into left seat up in the pointy end of the plane. I now once again am the proud owner of a FAA Third Class Medical Certificate. Legally, today I can fly again. Practically, that’s not a good idea unless the zombie horde has the airport surrounded and they’re looking at me as an appetizer. Almost four years will leave your skill set a bit “eroded.”

Nothing that a handful of lessons with an instructor won’t cure, and once I’m safe to work on my own, building some hours in pursuit of the perfect $100 hamburger.

Once I run through those refresher videos and brush up on my radio skills and sectional map reading…

…which will happen in my copious free time…

…after I find that final boss in the most boring video game of all time (aka, converting our CAF SoCal Wing accounting books to QuickBooks Online, aka one of the top [bottom?] ten most slow and frustrating and useless programs ever written).

The daily data entry sessions with QBO now take on a bit more urgency with the extra prize at the finish line.

Excuse me, I have some accounts payables to post!

Mmmmmm – payables!

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Paul

Birthday Present For FedEx

I wasn’t privvy to many details, but from what I heard there was some sort of anniversary or birthday party that FedEx was throwing for itself down at their LAX facility. That facility sits atop what was once one of the primary North American Aviation factories during World War II, back when LAX was known as Mines Field.

We happen to have two magnificent examples of that particular North American factory, our P-51 Mustang and our PBJ bomber.

They asked if we might be able to send those two aircraft down for the party. To the best of my knowledge we’ve never had our planes at LAX before, nor are there many that ever go in there with the big aluminium tubes from the airlines. So we went.

It was a nice day for flying in SoCal. (Not that I got to leave the ground – someone had to pay the bills today.)

It’s great to have our P-51 flying again after being down over a year with a complete engine rebuild, and the PBJ is going strong and hitting her stride after her first flight last year following a 23-year full restoration.

Coming soon to an airshow near you, especially if you’re on the West Coast or in SoCal. If nothing else if you’re in SoCal, the 2017 Wings Over Camarillo airshow will be at our home base on August 19th and 20th. Come out and see our facilities and planes! (I will not be there for the first time in years – it’s a total solar eclipse weekend for me.)

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Filed under Photography, Flying, CAF, Airshows, Video

No Joy For Cassini

I had mentioned a couple of weeks back that I had applied for another NASA Social, this one at JPL in September for the Cassini finale. I had also mentioned that there were 25 spots available and I wouldn’t be surprised if they would get 2,500 or 25,000 applications and I thought my odds of being accepted were small.

I was correct!

I’ve gotten the “thanks so much for applying, but…” email and while I’m disappointed, I’m neither crushed nor surprised. But if you don’t apply, they can’t tell you “no,” correct? At least they didn’t say, “HELL, NO!”

Meanwhile, I’m one or two steps closer to getting my FAA flight physical renewed, which is the next big step to getting back into the left seat in the cockpit. While I’ve been flying (commercial doesn’t count) a handful of times in the past few years (here, here, here, and here for example), I haven’t been PIC (Pilot in Command) in almost four years.

Time to fix that.

We’re getting closer. Get the FAA medical, get a few hours of training back in and get my BFR (Bi-annual Flight Review) recorded, then start building up some hours. We’ve got that Navion that needs flying out at the CAF, and with a tailwheel endorsement, the PT-19. A few hundred hours there and a complex endorsement and the SNJ’s await.

Watch the skies. That’s me aiming to come to your town for that “$100 hamburger!”

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Paul, Space

Perspective – July 8th

Yeah, that might be fleeting and elusive at the moment…

Let’s say it’s been one of THOSE days at the end of one of THOSE weeks, which means that July is starting to be one of THOSE months, the same as June was, and May was, and…

So I’m “spinning” a bit, and realized in bed at about 01:00 last night that I forgot to publish yesterday’s post. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre! Note that I did NOT get out of bed at 01:01 and go hit that “publish” button. (“A man’s got to know his limitations!”) As always, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.

I also want to focus on the positive, so I’ll note that our (“our” = “CAF SoCal’s”) P-51 is back up and flying! This is tremendous news and due to the superhuman efforts by our P-51 maintenance crew, led by Trace Eubanks. Not enough nice things can be said about what he’s gotten done with that plane, and others.

The plane’s actually up at the Truckee airshow this weekend selling rides, but here are some pictures from a different perspective (see what I did there?) that I took a couple of weeks ago as it was nearing completion. (I think I’m getting punchy…)

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Panorama, Photography

The Most Boring Video Game In The Universe

There are projects and deadlines afoot. One of the larger ones involves my CAF gig as Finance Officer for the Southern California Wing and a conversion of our accounting records from Quicken to QuickBooks Online (QBO).

The nicest thing I have to say about QBO is that is probably is no longer in the top three worst programs I’ve ever used in my life. It easily was when I first looked at it about two years ago. Now, it’s probably just in the top ten worst programs I’ve ever used. When you’re stuck with the hand I’ve been handed on this one, you look for “good” wherever you can find it.

As an example of the difficulties involved, consider that  when our old file was converted to their new format and uploaded two years ago, there were thousands of “recurring transactions” created, every single one of which was wrong. Flat out wrong. Garbage. Useless.

Worse than useless in fact, since the “recurring transactions” function is one which I’ll need to rely on heavily. But I can’t use it because of all of the garbage that’s already in there. So I went in to delete the old stuff, the garbage.

3,153 useless, problem, garbage entries.

Where’s the delete button?

Well, I finally found it. On each item listed (slowly, because QBO has to refresh the screen via its Internet connection after every change, so you had damn well better have a good one) there’s a tiny icon that will let you edit, duplicate, or delete that entry. Hit “delete.” Now, of course, you’re asked to confirm that you want to delete the entry. Hit “yes.” Wait for the screen to refresh. Repeat.

Cool – so how do I delete all of them? (If you see this coming, don’t spoil it for those who haven’t been exposed to QBO yet.)

I searched and searched for something that would let me block a whole bunch of entries and once and delete them en masse. Can I do a “page” of 50 or 150 or 300 at a time? Nope. Can I go down the list and highlight or tag a whole bunch of them one at a time and then delete them, like I would spam emails? Nope.

So I went to the “help” function, which actually isn’t really any help from QBO at all, but a portal into a user community. The people who wrote the program don’t seem to be able to take the time to answer questions, but I can throw myself on the mercy of those who also have to use it and pray for guidance.

Guidance was swift and brutal. There is no way to delete those 3,153 entries other than to do it One. Entry. At. A. Time.

Click the icon, click “delete,” click “yes,” wait for the screen to refresh, repeat until the heat death of the universe.

Mind you, this needs to be done in addition to the thousands of records of data that need to be entered and reconciled and verified from the old program file. This is just one tiny little aspect of the bigger problem.

The only good news is that this particular useless task can be done on my iPad. That means that if I need to take a break and sit and watch a ballgame or just plotz for an hour or so, I can mindlessly work through another few hundred entries. At lunch time, every single day this month so far, you’ll see me sitting out on the plaza, stuffing my face with one hand and Icon-Delete-Yes-Waiting with the other.

It was while doing this today that someone saw me and came over to chat. “I see you here every day on that thing. What are you playing?”

Yes, yes, please tell me, you look so engrossed! Minecraft? Some new MMORPG? Pokemon Go? How can I get in on some of this?

“The most boring video game in the universe.”

“So…why are you playing it?”

Nothing gets past some folks.

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Filed under CAF, Computers

Raccoon Wrestling (DEFINITELY A Euphemism)

Tonight as they’re trotting around up there I know there are at least four. I haven’t stuck my head up there (not a particularly good time to be climbing in the dark, especially to invade the territory of some potentially pissed off critters) but at least twice I’ve heard them quite clearly walking by in single file (to hide their numbers, no doubt) and it’s not that hard to tell.

In the last year or two we’ve learned that they’re a bit solitary and usually the only time you’ll see two adults together is if it’s mating season. When you hear a larger group (like the ones in the other pictures I’ve published before) it’s usually a mother and her young, a grouping that can last up to a year and a half.

January – two of them, almost every night. June – at least four of them, almost every night.

One doesn’t need to be Marlin Perkins to figure out how we got from a pair to a full house. (Again, it might be easiest to download them all and then “flip” through them to animate the series.)






























Note the time stamps – that’s about three minutes.

Two hours later, she’s still looking a bit “rumpled,” don’t you think?

 

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Filed under CAF, Critters, Photography