Archive for the ‘Tidbits’ Category

Google KMZ of the night flight

Friday, October 10th, 2008

A picture paints a thousand words.  So I created a rough outline of the flight that we took that you can open in Google Earth.  Enjoy!

Oh yeah, one more thing.

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

So since we had a long flight before lunch yesterday, we stopped and got some snacks.  I decided on a bag of pretzels, but neglected to open it before we left.  I was getting hungry at 8,500 feet and reached back to an almost ready to explode bag of pretzels.  I forgot, the air is thinner up there.

Then, when I opened it, it opened the wrong way and got pretzel crumbs and salt all over my lap.


TX-121, you officially do not suck anymore

Monday, September 15th, 2008

For those of you local to Dallas, you are probably familiar with the convenient looking (on the map), but traffic black hole called Texas State Highway 121. This used to be a two-lane highway along much of the route between Lewisville and McKinney, and is a major thoroughfare for many of the towns in between.

Well, despite all the hell that residents had to deal with (my family included as we used to live in McKinney), IT IS FINALLY OPEN! I drove it for the first time today on the actual six-lane highway piece, and it was glorious. TX-121, you have finally moved from the “CRAPHOLE FREEWAY” category to “DAMN SKIPPY.”

The only bottleneck that I know of now between McKinney & Fort Worth is the short strip in Grapevine/Coppell where you go back to a four-lane road with traffic lights. Other than that, it is smooth ace sailing for drivers!

I’m a pilot!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Yes, you guys know that. But I said it like that for the first time since I got my ticket. I was talking to my neighbor yesterday morning and he was asking if we had any big plans for today. I told him that I went flying in the AM, but we’d be sticking around for the rest of the day.

He asked, “What do you mean by ‘went flying’?”

I said, “I’m a pilot.”

It was a first for me, but definitely a proud moment when I look back at how hard I worked at getting through my training. Well, through the first stage anyway.

So, anyway, thought I’d share that with you. Whee.

James brought his camera along yesterday, and I threw some pics up on Facebook (I gave into peer pressure).


Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Finally made it back after my much too speedy trip through Australia. Sydney stole my heart and was my favorite by far of the three cities we visited.

Call me a dumb American tourist, I don’t care. The Rocks would be my anchor, or rock if you will, if I lived there.

I’m just plowing through all of the junk my RSS reader picked up while I was gone, and importing my new Aussie music! Going to fly with the family today as well, then OFF TO THE LAKE!

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend away!

Brisbane & Melbourne done!

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

I had a post that got eaten by WordPress, but it was talking about our quick trip through Brisbane.  Had a great meeting and we got to enjoy some great weather and an art festival in Southbank.  On Monday, we did our meeting and I hit a local music shop for some Aussie tunes.  I’ve got the John Butler Trio and the Whitlams covered, but got some Lior and Bernard Fanning to round things out.  May try to get a couple more artists before I leave.

Tomorrow AM is all tourist shopping before the briefing (catch up to the US work before that of course).  Then hit a few pubs and get ready to come home.  I have really enjoyed my trip, but have fallen in love with Sydney while I am here.  The city is absolutely incredible.

Keep watching the blog for more shenanigans!

Sydney, Day 3

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

This is one amazing city.  Perfect?  Pretty close.  It is definitely a city I could see living in with enough money.  The Rocks is an amazing part of Sydney, and the pub tour I did today highlighted the culture there.  I had a pretty big day today and am heading to bed shortly.  Here’s what I did.

  • Woke up late, but good thing because the conference call (late Friday US time) got cancelled.
  • Went to the Starbucks on the corner for breakfast
  • Walked through The Rocks to the Sydney Harbor Bridge
  • Walked the footpath & climbed in the tower
  • Headed back over to Circular Quay, bought a ferry ticket to Darling Harbour, and then walked to the Opera House
  • Walked around and took some pictures of the Opera House, and inquired about the tours
  • Made a last minute decision to take the tour
  • Briskly walked back to catch the ferry
  • Rode the ferry to Darling Harbour
  • Had lunch
  • Hit the aquarium (not as great as I hoped)
  • Headed back to Circular Quay, and then to the hotel
  • Took a load off, fixed/charged my Blackberry
  • Loaded back on and headed to the pub tour in The Rocks
  • Did the tour
  • Went back to Glenmore for food
  • Hit the Mercantile for drinks & music
  • Petered out and headed back to the hotel
  • Got a drink, watched a crappy hotel lounge band
  • Talking to you.

That about does it!  Now I need to sort laundry and pack because I am headed to Brisbane early in the morning.

Day 2, Sydney

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Greetings folks!  Yesterday was gorgeous down here in Sydney.  It was a long day for me traveling, but I hung on until about 9pm local time.  Woke up a few times, but forced myself to stay in bed until 6am.  I just got back from the gym at the hotel, which BTW is freaking awesome.  Liability laws must be more normal down here.

Today I am going to be doing some stuff with local press and meeting a customer.  I’m going to get moving here and walk around a little bit this AM, but not too much.  When I was doing the elliptical today, I was getting a slight twinge in my left leg.  I don’t want to push it as I still have two more cities to see before I leave.

Took the ferry over to Manly Beach yesterday and walked around there for a little bit.  It was chilly, but there were at least 50 surfers in the water down the way.  After I’d been there about an hour, I headed back and picked up the Jet Cat on the way back.  Half the time, but COLD up on deck.

Last night I hit the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel.  Quite awesome.  Then I had enough, so I walked back here to the hotel and crashed.

Yesterday on the Ferry ride, I got some great shots of the opera house.  I’m going to put together some of those and hang them at the house methinks.

Early learnings about Australia

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Australia reminds me of the UK.  Ever since I arrived, there are little things that remind me.  For example:

  1. Light switches on the OUTSIDE of the room
  2. Driving on the left
  3. Road signs (look EXACTLY the same)
  4. The first floor of a building actually being the second.

That said, I’ve learned some key differences so far.

  2. Longer flight here…. but ultimately worth it
  3. Better weather
  4. Did I mention the food?
  5. I went to a place called Manly Beach today.  Go find that in the UK.

Anyway… I’ve been up for a while now, and I’m going to sleep.  Catch you in the morning (or EVENING for those of you back home!).

Finally Made It!

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

I’ve been traveling for about 27 hours now, but I finally made it to Sydney!  It’s 11:30am on Thursday here and I’m going to take a quick shower before a working lunch.  I’ll be taking pictures with the phone (and I have a real camera here too), so check back often!

QPT, 15.4 hours (2.1 solo)

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

I’m a day late here, but had a very busy day.  I took 5915A over past Propwash and practiced my turns around a point.  After circling the same silo for a good 15 minutes I started getting the hang of it!  I got tired of turning left (its easier to see out the left side of the plane sitting in the left seat), and went over to Propwash to do touch & go’s. Kelly (my instructor’s former student) was doing touch & gos in her 150 while I was doing my maneuvers, and I was hoping she would finish her pattern work before I headed over.  She did, and I waved as she parked her plane and I did my first landing.

I also practiced a slip to land, and nailed it.  I’m getting much better on the landings.

Then I went back to Northwest Regional and did a few more touch & gos there.  Mainly because the pattern at Propwash is right traffic, where the majority of airports are left traffic (just means which direction you fly that rectangle around the field).

Then I met my instructor after I secured the plane and we discussed my cross country planning.  I feel much better and spent the better part of my commercial flight to Dulles planning my routes.

I will be flying tomorrow and Friday afternoon, and I am taking the day off on Monday to get some solo cross country time.

Houston, we have wind direction!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

FINALLY! The last of the damage done by my roofers is erased. I have my new anemometer up and running! Check the weather page for more info!

I’m going soft…

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

I am such a softie. I’m leaving the neighborhood today and as I am pulling up to Firewheel, I see a turtle crossing the street. This turtle was smart enough to cross AT THE CROSSWALK; which I applauded. Then it dawned on me that “La fútbol mamá” (the Soccer Mom) would never stop her Yukon and would just smash the tiny speed bump.

So I shut the car down, put on the flashers, got out and walked into the street (fully planning on stopping traffic on the two lanes coming my way) to pick up the turtle and move it into the grass on our side. As I put down the turtle, a lady pulled up behind the Jeep and had this look of horror on her face. I’m not sure if it was because I was making her late (honestly, if you are just leaving the house at 8:30, you are going to be late to work anyway), or because she wanted to have him for dinner.

Why the wind only blows from the WSW

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Like half of the residents in the fair town of Flower Mound, we had our roof replaced this past weekend. While the guys were up on the roof, they did something to the anemometer. I am not sure what they did, but the wind direction signal is not getting to the weather station.

When the wind dies down, I’m going to get up there on the roof and check it out.

Gravatar fun!

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Well, I don’t quite know how I set it up, but you can see my little picture in the comments now! I think you just go to, and hit “Manage.” You have to be a user on my blog to see that, but once you do, you should be able to upload a picture!

whee! Thanks springie for showing me this!

The Curse of the Three Day Weekend

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Memorial Day has come and gone. We are very thankful for everything our soldiers do to keep us free! And in our free time this Memorial Day, we spent the time with family for a DELICIOUS fish fry, and then chilled poolside for the rest of the day.

Something occurred to me today as I am still having the “It’s Tuesday… why do I need to worry about my Wednesday deadlines yet?” thought. The four day weeks following a three day weekend are hell. For whatever reason, we still seem to have to cram five days of work into four days of time. I know I’m not the only one thinking this… Somewhere around my 5th or 6th conference call today I had full-on confirmation.

Tomorrow is THURSDAY, so at least we just have 2 days to go until the weekend!

Thank goodness it is after five here….

Ode to my Blackberry Pearl….

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Oh, sweet Pearl, you are so unique.
I love your features, for example,
Your design is sleek,
    Your interface is chic,
        And your storage is quite ample.

Your voice dialing functions in stride.
The WiFi feature is a thrill.
Your video camera I have not tried,
    And as sure as the tide,
        Get me scolded it will.

Your small frame packs quite a punch,
And you fit comfortably into my pocket.
I’m sure you have a hunch,
    That your vibrate mode gets me in a bunch,
        Making people ask, “is that a wocket?”

From nothing, to a Shadow, to a Pearl, all in 3 days

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Part of working for a big company is carrying their mobile devices.  Part of working for a big company that is selling your business is getting back those numbers that you brought in.

This weekend I signed on the dotted line for a commitment I have not had in over three years, a personal cell phone.  I’ve had a cell number, but when I joined my company, it became the company’s number.  With the sell off, the policy was relaxed and I was able to get my number out.  w00t!

So I started my trek by looking at a couple of providers and their phones.  One provider was adding up the data services required for some of their phones and before I had even chosen a plan, I was up to $100/month!  Screw that!  My current phone bill on the company plan is around $110/mo with everything.

So I walked over to the other provider and found a sweet deal on a HTC Shadow.  Not a bad piece of equipment from the looks of it, but it is a Windows Mobile device.  I’ve had one before (the original BlackJack) and it was unpleasant.

I gave it a shot though since there is a buyers remorse policy.  After two days with it, I decided it was not for me.  Once the number port went through, I played with it a little bit and had a few crashes.  Not major, but it had quirks.  It seems underpowered.

So I went back to the store, and exchanged it for a Pearl.  For me, it was an even swap.  No change in service.  I LOVE this device.  It is very similar in use to my Curve which is the work phone (also love THAT, just a little big).  The form factor is fantastic, and fits nicely into my pocket.  The syncing of contacts/calendar is a little wonky without the enterprise support, but I can deal with it until Plaxo gets off their ass and makes a Blackberry client (Note to Plaxo/Comast: Get on it!).

All in all, one of the best decisions I made this weekend!

Vegas Recap

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

I’m headed home from Vegas and I wanted to share a few things I learned along the way.

  • People who are just sitting at a slot machine and punching the buttons every so often are either trying to get a free drink (which seems hard to come by), or is just renting a chair for a few.  I paid $3 to rent a chair for twenty minutes.
  • Good things do not happen immediately following a dramatic increase in music volume.
  • Bartendresses must dance violently on the bar every thirty minutes at Centrifuge.  Their outfits will make you wonder if you are in a gentleman’s club as they throw their hips around.
  • When the bartender asks you to move your drink so HE can get up and dance on the bar, move it, and turn away (unless you enjoy watching the dancing pork sword).
  • Sirens are not always for show, sometimes they will shut down the strip.
  • It is apparently acceptable to sit at the Verizon Recharge Station with your cell plugged into an outlet and carry on a conversation in a foreign tongue, ON SPEAKER PHONE.  Please duly note that.

Thank you for your attention, please continue on with your day!

Great Moments in Travel

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

I am a Road Warrior.

It comes with the job, and there are days that I really enjoy it.  I could trade some days for others, but it’s days like today that make it all worth while.

I’m sitting at the Las Vegas airport waiting for my new flight (previous one is probably going to cancel now) and someone from the TSA hops on the public address system.  I was ready for a “To the person who left your ID at the security checkpoint, please return to claim your item,” type announcement.  What came on instead was:

“To the person who left the false teeth and hearing aid at the security desk, if you can hear me, please return to claim your items.”

How freaking awesome is that?