June 12th, 2012 · No Comments
May 25th, 2012 · No Comments
Our little girl turned eight years old, yesterday. Already!!! Why does time fly so fast as a parent??
Happy birthday, daughter!!
May 25th, 2012 · No Comments
Our Los Angeles Kings maintained their juggernaut-like tendencies and shook off the bite of the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night, winning the best-of-seven series in overtime of Game Five. The win set an NHL record for most consecutive playoff road game wins (10) and tied an NHL record for fewest games played to reach the Stanley Cup Finals (14).
Their opponent is not yet determined (it will be the New York Rangers or the New Jersey Devils, depending upon the outcome of their Eastern Conference Finals series), but no matter who they play, it promises to be an EPIC series!
Time to repaint the ice with some new logos!!
GO KINGS, GO!!!
May 11th, 2012 · 3 Comments
I normally try to keep to myself while I commute on my airline to and from Phoenix. I most always wear plain clothes and typically squirrel my identification badge away while I’m seated in the passenger cabin. I often busy myself with a book or sudoku puzzle on the iPad, or I simply shut my eyes and listen to music as I dose my way to or from work. But every now and again, a pleasant person sits down next to me and strikes up interesting conversation, which is what happened last week on my flight from LAX.
A young lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I could help her find her seat. I explained that seating was “open,” and she asked if she could have the open seat by the window of the row in which I was sitting. A bit of small talk was exchanged (in which I found out that she was a fan of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey club…my Kings’ upcoming opponent in the Western Conference Finals, so…BOOO) before she mentioned how much she loved to fly.
The conversation continued with me saying, “Oh yeah?” and asking her if she flew often. Enthusiastically, she proceeded to tell me how she was actually taking flying lessons out of Long Beach, and that she’d just soloed for the first time two weeks prior. With one of the biggest grins I’ve ever seen across someone’s face, she described what it was like in just about every detail. Clearly, this was something that brought great happiness to her…something she truly loved to do. She asked if I’d had any experience actually flying, and my response was my usual (and purposeful) understatement: “I’ve got a little bit of time in small planes.”
We continued talking about her plans to continue her flying education beyond a basic private pilot’s license, and it was clear that she was at one of life’s many crossroads. With a degree in communications, she’d gone into public relations after college, and I don’t think she could’ve stated more emphatically how much she disliked her field of work. When I suggested that it might be a good time to change her career field (being that she was only in her early 20′s), I could tell by the look on her face that the thought had appeal.
By now her curiosity had gotten the best of her (or she’d caught a glimpse of the crew tag on the bag I had tucked under the seat in front of me), and she asked what I did for a living. I confessed. Instantly, I became (in her mind) a source of knowledge to her regarding the career field, and questions came at me rapid-fire style. What’s it like? What’s the best part about the job? What’s the worst? How long did you take to get to where you are now? How long would it take me to get there?
I did my best to answer the questions, of course, and offered to keep in touch should she have any questions. I’m a bit removed from the flight-training and ladder-climbing phases of the career choice, I’m afraid, so I don’t know how much help I can be to her in planning a potential career change. It was quite nice, however, to see that level of interest in flying in someone as young as she. It provided some perspective, actually, helping me to remember that I am indeed living my dream. That’s something that is remarkably easy to take for granted, especially after twenty years of flying and nearly fifteen years in the airline industry.
May 8th, 2012 · No Comments
Our Los Angeles Kings completed a sweep of the St. Louis Blues on Sunday to advance to the Western Conference Finals for only the second time in franchise history! What an awesome game to see live! HISTORY was made, as it was the Kings’ first-ever post-season series sweep. It was INCREDIBLY loud in that arena!
And last night, the team to face the Kings was determined when the Phoenix Coyotes finished their series by beating the Nashville Predators four games to one.
Bring it, Phoenix. You’re going to need it!!
May 2nd, 2012 · No Comments
Last December, the airline I fly for placed a rather LARGE order for Boeing’s newest iteration of their venerable and seemingly timeless 737, the 737 MAX. In fact, we will be the new aircraft’s launch customer, with deliveries starting in 2017 or sooner.
The 737 MAX is Boeing’s answer to airline’s demands for a more fuel-efficient airframe in the 120 to 175 seat category. Efficiency improvements will be realized through a combination of new bleedless engines (meaning that air is not sapped from the engines to run things like anti-ice and pressurization/environmental systems, instead relying on electrically powered systems for those things), and aerodynamic tweaks.
One of the latest aerodynamic tweaks will be a new drag-reducing winglet design.
May 2nd, 2012 · No Comments
Now here’s something hasn’t happened often over the last dozen years or so: The Los Angeles Kings have not only made the playoffs, but they’ve advanced past the first round!
At the end of the current season, the Kings were ranked 8th in the NHL’s Western Conference, earning them a spot in the playoffs and a matchup with the number 1 seeded and President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks. The Kings quite handily KICKED THEIR ASSES, upset-style, and sent the goofy-looking Sedin twins to the golf courses in only five games to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Now, the Kings are embroiled in a battle with the St. Louis Blues. So far, so good…the Kings took the first two games from St. Louis and are coming home to Staples Center to play games four and five in the coming few days.
GO KINGS, GO!!
March 24th, 2011 · 1 Comment
At the end of January, I finished a day of flying just after noon in El Paso, TX. After checking into the hotel and changing into civvies, my partner (Captain Ray) and I walked Eastward along the road that runs along El Paso Airport’s southern boundary to see if we could get a closer look at an Aero Spacelines Super Guppy that we’d seen sitting on the airport for a while.
While we understood the Super Guppy to be owned and operated by NASA, what we didn’t know is that El Paso Airport is home to a forward operating location of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The center is responsible for several things, including the maintenance and operation of the Super Guppy and the Gulfstream 2 Shuttle Training Aircraft, as well as servicing and upgrades of NASA’s fleet of T-38 aircraft.
We basically walked up to the facility and knocked on the door, since there’s no “visitor’s entrance” or anything of the sort. Fortunately, we were greated by a friendly employee of the maintenance facility who was only too happy to give us a look around when we told him who we were and who we worked for. Had we been just a day earlier, we would have had a chance to meet the crew of STS-133, who were there doing some final training in the STA for their upcoming mission.
The tour included quite a few interesting things. We got to sit at a big wooden picnic table in the hangar on which all the shuttle astronauts had signed their names.
We had the opportunity to check out the inside of the STA’s cockpit, which is essentially split in half with one side being the Shuttle Commander’s station and the other being a standard G-2′s cockpit.
They let me take a real close look at the cockpit of an Astronaut’s T-38.
And, of course, they gave the two of us the grand tour of the Aero Spacelines B-337SGT Super Guppy. This was a really special deal, since there are so few of these in the world.
I won’t bore you with specifics about the Super Guppy (you can find those on the links above), but I will say that it is WAY bigger inside than it looks from the outside! Muse be cool to fly something where you not only have to worry about the center-of-gravity fore and aft, but the center-of-gravity up and down, too!
Thanks to Bob Coyne and everyone else at NASA JSC El Paso for taking the time to give me and Captain Ray the grand tour of your facility!
March 23rd, 2011 · 1 Comment
In case any of the seven readers of this blog were A) still readers of this blog, and B) wondering if I was still alive, the answer to B) is: Yes.
Life has been extra-hectic.
We moved Mom in with us last October. This involved a drastic pairing down of her own existence so that it would fit into one room in our small house. It also involved an only-somewhat-less-drastic pairing down of the existence of myself, my wife, and our daughter so that Mom would have a room to fit into. So after clearing all the crud out of her four bedroom house that she was occupying all by herself and moving all of our crud out of what used to be our office (and remodeling the bathroom and pouring a new driveway/slab in the backyard for a storage shed) she’s all moved in. Of course, that left the cleaning and prepping of her old house for sale. In the meantime, Mom went through a hip-replacement in December and is juuuuust about back to where she was before the operation, albeit with much less pain. The house is now in escrow (for quite a bit less than our original asking price), and soon the entire process will be over and done with. “Old Normal” will be gone, and “New Normal” will be complete and here to stay.
Yep. That’s a lot of stress.
And the rest of my family is well, too. My wonderful wife turns 40 in April, and as part of her 40th birthday present, I took her to Hawaii for a week. We spent four days on Kauai and three on The Big Island, and we had a fantastic time! It was a HUGE letoff of all the stress we’d built up over the previous eight months. The pictures can be found here. Hope you enjoy them!
Work is virtually unchanged, for now. Slightly more experienced in-type (I flew a bit over 850 hours last year). And I’m slightly more advanced in terms of longevity, I suppose. The economy has kept the actual seniority advancement to a minimum, but that’s completely beyond my control. There’s a merger on the horizon, and I’m not certain how that will work out. I’m optimistic that, in the long run, there’ll be a lot of money made by the combined companies, and that will mean a modicum of career security.
Other than that, I’m pretty much the same guy I was last time I posted. Though, I did hit my weight-loss goal of 220 lbs (115 lost) back in September of last year. So far, I’ve managed to keep active enough to keep it off, mostly (had a bit of a setback from the Hawaii trip; dark-chocolate-covered macadamia nuts by the bag-full didn’t help). I’m running a lot, lately, and I’ve gotten to the point where I can run six to eight miles without stopping or falling over dead. I guess falling over dead would count as stopping…
A few pics from the road:
May 31st, 2010 · 1 Comment
Some days as a parent are just especially great…
I’m really proud of our little girl! She worked really hard at this all day, today. She listened very well and that makes her a good learner!!
Just a week over six years old, now! Can’t hardly believe it. Here’s this year’s birthday portrait!