Category Archives: Paul

I Think I’ve Been Scraped

Interesting couple of interactions with people who claim to have “discovered” this site and be very impressed with what I’m doing.

I’m skeptical. It’s my default position, doesn’t let me down often.

One person was putting together a clickbait article on American tourists and how we confuse the locals in other countries. They wanted to use one of my pictures and link to the article. They gave me credit, so fine. I’m not a huge fan of clickbait, but given the tone of the article and the picture they want to use (let’s see if you can figure out which picture…), I can see the validity of their request.

Then there’s the sales call and email at work. This is very much my personal site, but I got emails and a call at work. It’s not a secret where I work, but I don’t think I’ve ever given out my work email address or phone number here, so I had a little yellow flag popping up when they showed up.

Also, both the emails and the phone calls took pains to praise me on three or four particular points about the site. As in, it sounded like the sales person was trying to be very personal – but was reading the email and then doing improv off of it.

It was very tempting to start asking her questions about what part of the site she liked other than the three or four mentioned and which recent article she liked. And did she really like my series of articles about flying first class to Australia last year? (I’m sure she did…)

It will be interesting to see if she comments on this article. As I said, a card-carrying cynic.

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Red Vines

This is on our kitchen counter and caught the attention of my psychotic brain:

It’s the “Original Red” label that made my brain go “ping!”

Are there Red Vines® that aren’t red?

If so, are they still “Red Vines,” or are they just “Red Vines®”?

If the latter, are they allowed to vote or make campaign contributions under Citizens United?

Is this the new Red Menace?

Should I have had that Ace Pineapple Hard Cider® before writing this? It probably made much more sense then…


Filed under Farce, 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.


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.


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.


Filed under Paul, Photography

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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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul