Category Archives: Paul

Why Bother?

I’m not a “car guy” – but I do enjoy driving a lot, and I enjoy going fast. (And yet somehow I managed to drive for over forty years before I got my first speeding ticket…) So it was with at least a touch of passing interest I noted that the new 2020 Corvette will be out in July. Reports say the C8 Corvette will have a mid-engine, 6.2 liter V-8 with something on the order of 500 horsepower.

It will go fast.

And yet…

There will be no option for a manual transmission??!!

This is an abomination.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – that isn’t driving, it’s steering.

If you can’t drive a stick, you shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car with this much power.

Elitist?

Damn straight. And not sorry about it.

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A Bittersweet Anniversary

Have you ever had a feeling, a tickling at the base of your brain, a twinge in the gut that means that there’s something that you’re supposed to realize, to remember, to be aware of, but for the life of you it’s just slipping away in the fog of confusion and stress? The knowledge that you’re sure there’s something that you should be having an “A-HA!” moment about, but instead your brain is just spinning like a kitten chasing its tail?

What am I forgetting? A birthday? A meeting? Some sort of deadline?

Not necessarily a “sense of impending doom,” but rather a void, a memory that got forgotten before it could be remembered?

Something about the date. April 4th. Oh-four, oh-four.

Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky…

No, that’s not it, but we’re on the right track. I know that’s today, but this is more personal.

Finally…

On my desk I have a digital picture frame that scrolls through a couple thousand favorite pictures every day. I miss about 90% of them because I’m busy, but it’s okay because they’ll roll back around in a few hours. But I happened to look up at this one.

Ah. Yes. Four-four.

But that didn’t seem to be all of it. So I looked up the file.

April 4th. 2009. Ten years ago today.

I had been out on the tarmac alone, tying down the aircraft and finishing up the routines following the flight. But I wanted to just be doing a happy dance and had no one to share it with. Some poor stranger wandered by and I grabbed him and asked if he could take the picture for me. He was gracious enough to accommodate me.

That paper? That the FAA certificate that says that I had passed my check ride. I was now officially a pilot.

That was one of the best days of my life, a memory that no one will ever take from me. Not on a par with the birth of my kids or my wedding day, but as far as personal accomplishments go, it’s up there with graduation days, finishing marathons, arriving in Europe or Asia for the first time…

Why is it bittersweet? Because things changed, and no matter how much I want to be in the left seat “up there going somewhere,” the fact is that I was only an active pilot for a little over thirty months after this picture was taken. It’s been over 7 1/2 years since I’ve flown, and barring another drastic change for the better, it’s unlikely to happen again soon. Despite the fact that I spend an inordinate amount of time hanging around planes on the weekends with my CAF gig.

So, thanks, subconscious! There’s no doubt that’s an important one and I guess I’m glad that it didn’t go by unnoticed and unheralded – but maybe I could have passed on this one.

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Filed under Flying, Paul, Photography

Longing For The Sky

Wishing to be up there going somewhere.

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No Context For You – April 01st

I have no clue – it’s on my phone and was taken at 19:07 tonight. All I know is that my personal Rorschach Test sees that big thing on the left with a decidedly Georgia O’Keeffe vibe going on.

I’ve been enjoying my Bose wireless headphones quite a bit, pretty much on a daily basis for at least an hour or two once I get home from the office. The batteries will hold a full charge for close to a week at that rate (about 20 hours total is what they say, and I’m finding that to be pretty accurate) but I usually charge them overnight before they get too depleted.

Until last night.

One feature of these headphones is a little robot voice that will tell you what the battery status is when they’re turned on. (I think the little voice will tell you a couple dozen other things, like if there’s an incoming phone call and so on.) Last night, I found that when the battery starts to get low, you’ll get spoken warnings once the battery is down to about 10%.

I kept going since I was on a roll with a project. I got another warning. Or two.

Then I heard, “My battery’s low, please recharge me now.”

And all I could think of was Opportunity’s last message. “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”

A headphone’s simple warning about battery status shouldn’t leave you wanting a pillow fort, hot chocolate, and some alone time.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul, Photography, Space

Battling The Universe

Trying to shape the Universe to the image of what it should be is exhausting. And frustrating. Also, I’m not being terribly successful at the moment.

Some part of my brain that got infected by the 70’s says I should let go, stop battling the tide, but instead go with it, learn to be one with it, understand the ebbs and flows and in turn gain the wisdom to shape it, not by force, but by persuasion.

Another particularly smartass part of my brain is now thinking of the movie version of “Dune” with Kyle MacLachlan riding a sandworm – I like the smartass part of my brain, but it’s not always the most useful. Like now.

So, turning our attention back to the sliver of brain that’s stuck in the 70’s, it’s suggesting that I learn to surf (the power of the ocean can not be overcome, but can be partnered with to bring fluidity, joy, and motion, blah blah blah) or ski (ditto with the big mountains, lots of snow, ice, avalanches, polar bears, etc). That brain sliver conveniently forgets that I swim about as well as your average cinder block so surfing is contraindicated, and I already know how to ski but I hate being cold and that’s a big part of why I haven’t been on skis in more than forty-five years.

70’s brain sliver is gonna get me killed.

Stupid brain.

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Patterns & Trends

One of my jobs working my way through college all those decades ago was as  a night auditor at a hotel. It’s where I learned accounting, which is pretty much what I’ve done in one form or the other for the past forty years, so I guess some of it must have stuck. One of the things I learned as an auditor, where you’re sort of looking for things that are wrong or off-kilter, is to look at patterns and trends.

In other professions where folks are looking for problems, looking for failure points, looking for root causes of accidents, patterns and trends are a key indicator in the data to point the way to the truth. That assembly line used to fail once a month, then every other week, now every week? Your car used to never burn oil, then it started using a little, now you’re down a quart every month? Your airline used to lose x bags a month, then it was 2x bags a month, now it’s 3x?

Something is wrong!

So it is with some concern I note that I have twice this week just simply forgotten to post my daily something here. Yesterday I actually had the photos and a story and had downloaded them from my phone…and then I just forgot to finish and post.

Something is wrong! In the nearly six years that I’ve had this site up, I can just about count on one hand the number of days when I didn’t post, and in almost all of those cases there was a reason. Twice in five days to just forget?!

That’s annoying.


Pictures from the parking lot last night, after the storms.

There have been a LOT of storms. The average rainfall in Los Angeles through this point in the season is 11.61″. The average rainfall in Los Angeles for an entire year is 14.93″. As of Wednesday we were at 17.99″ already, it rained yesterday, there’s more rain coming late this weekend, and we still have many months to go in the season. (I think it goes November 1st through October 31st.)

Somewhere in those pictures should be a very, very thin crescent moon. I didn’t see it when I took the pictures but I did see it just a few minutes later when I got home. I’ve looked at the pictures and can’t see it – maybe it was hiding behind one of those clouds. Or maybe you can find it.

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Filed under Paul, Photography, Weather

No Context For You – March 06th

The devout, well brainwashed, compliant seven year-old Catholic school kid buried deep down inside me (trust me, he was is a real sanctimonious little prick) wants to give up something for Lent. Something grand and noble and… sanctimonious, like Diet Coke, chocolate, fear, or hatred.

The significantly older atheist who now occupies this meat suit (who might still be a real prick on a regular basis, but at least he’s not sanctimonious about it) wants to give up all of the crap that makes getting out of bed in the morning such a pain in the ass. But since that crap pays the bills and is required for that whole “responsible adult” thing, that’s not gonna happen either.

Someone online suggested giving up hope for Lent – they may be onto something. But that seems extreme and I’m too tired for anything extreme. So maybe I’ll just give up caring instead.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul, Photography