Pizza.

Crystal O’Connor, owner of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, was the first to step forward and announce that they’re not serving gays at their restaurant, but only if a gay couple wants them to provide catering for their wedding. It’s perfectly fine for a gay couple to come in and dine in their establishment.

Predictably, the Facebook page and Yelp profile of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana are both getting trashed, and not in a “I drank too many beers” kind of way. There’s also stories of the Memories Pizza website being hacked and reimagined with images of gay men in various states of undress accompanied by penis shaped pizzas, but it turns out that website address was registered today, so that doesn’t count.

I have just two comments: Ms. O’Connor doesn’t seem to be the brightest bulb in the chandelier as I don’t know how she thought this would bring any positive attention to her establishment but more importantly, what self-respecting couple, gay or straight, would ask a pizza joint to cater their wedding?

Escape.

I took Earl on his first ride in the Cherokee 180 yesterday. It was a beautiful day here in Central New York, the temperature was thinking about reaching 40ºF and there was lots of sunshine. The winds kept me on my toes during take-off and landing, but all in all we had a great flight together. We flew to Elmira-Corning Regional Airport and back; it’s a little over an hour’s flight in each direction. This made it qualify as a cross-country flight in my logbook. This is good, I need cross-country time for my Instrument rating, which I just started studying for. 

Flying with Earl is just like riding in the Jeep with him. We talk, we enjoy the scenery around us and most importantly, we enjoy the time we are spending together.

Flying is also an escape for me. As a pilot, my focus all comes to one place: flying the airplane safely. In my life it’s rare that I can focus on one thing. At work I am part of several disconnected software projects. I can be intently working on Project A when I’ll get hammered with instant messages on Projects B, C or D at any given moment. This pulls me away from my focus on Project A and my thoughts scatter. I used to think that I was a good multitasker. I’m not. I work best when I’m focused on a task and I allow myself to become completely engrossed in that task. I do my best work by focusing intently on what I’m trying to achieve. That’s why I twitch a bit when I get instant messages or text messages on my phone. They distract me and honestly, I’m easy to distract.

I continue to find the news outlets to be distracting. “Aviation experts” showing pictures of the airplane in the Germanwings crash. According to the photos I’ve seen, the airplane could have had one or two floors in the main cabin, two, three or four engines at any given moment and it was made by either Airbus, Boeing, Bombadier or some other company. These experts have no right to call themselves an expert. So much speculation and so many wild opinions. To me it’s sad to see the 24 hour news channels barely hide their delight that they have a tragedy to go on and on and on about. I feel sad for the families left behind after the crash of the Airbus. I feel even sadder that their images are being paraded around on the tube during their time of mourning.

So I turned the news off. 

I guess getting super focused on something affords me the escape I feel my brain needs. I need to better myself at removing distractions, and finding that happy place, even when I’m on the ground.

Fort Wayne International Airport.

I’m sitting here in the quiet terminal of FWA. Though I was just here on Sunday night, I’m feeling like I’m getting a good idea of the daily goings on here at the airport; it’s quiet. Very quiet. There are only eight gates. The staff is friendly. TSA has but one line. The line moves quickly.

The Fort Wayne Air Museum here at the airport has some interesting artifacts from the last century of flight. I took my time perusing the exhibits. I smiled as some of the instruments on display are tagged as being from the 40s but they look identical to the instruments I use whenever I fly one of the Piper Cherokees.  Sometimes the tried and true is best.

My three days of work here in Fort Wayne were successful. I feel like I accomplished something and I was happy to meet others that will be working on a common project with me. It’s always good to put a face with a bunch of letters in an IM at work. I find working in other company offices to be quite energizing. Normally working in an office is distracting to me, but a change of pace is always good.

I’m now settled in front of the big windows here at FWA awaiting my flight. We should be boarding in 30 or 45 minutes. I’m looking forward to relaxing during this flight.



Sunset. 

I spent the day is an office writing code with other programmers I had never met before. It’s what I do for my career, and while it was an interesting experience, it didn’t give me the opportunity to enjoy much of the spring like weather here in Fort Wayne, Indiana today. 

Luckily I took some time between supper and working in my hotel room to enjoy a gorgeous sunset, as seen from Interstate 469. 

I enjoy the flat landscape of this area. The local folks seem laid back.

People don’t know what they’re missing when they fly over this part of the country. 











DL3389

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, I am on my way to Fort Wayne, Indiana for work. My flights are by way of Detroit. The hop from Detroit to Ft. Wayne is short. I’m not worried about the 30 minutes of layover time, if I miss the connection I can just drive the two hours by car tonight. 

I feel quite relaxed.

I spent the first few minutes of our flight reading about becoming an Instrument (IFR) Rated Pilot and listening to the radio calls between the flight crew on our flight and ATC. I had to stop listening when I lost cellular service. Yes, I was breaking a rule. 

I just realized that I am probably breaking an FAA regulation right now by using my Bluetooth keyboard with my iPad.  Perhaps I should stop.

The flight attendant’s name is Josie. She is very nice and organized. I am enjoying this flight on Delta 3389. It’s an ERJ145.  I thought I had flown DL 3389 before, but I can’t find any earlier flights with that flight number on the spreadsheet I use to keep track of these things. Maybe I’ve just heard so many ATC calls over the years for 3389 it’s just ringing a bell.

The climb from KSYR through the clouds was short and fairly smooth. I watched for ice because I had heard earlier calls on ATC mentioning ice around 6,000 feet, but I didn’t see any ice accumulate on the wings. I looked back to make sure.

The decision to become an instrument pilot has been a tough one for me to make. This is venturing into territory beyond the ratings that my dad and grandfather had, but I love flying so much, including the challenges of being a great pilot, that I don’t want to limit myself to just flying in clear skies. I want Earl and I to be able to travel, and if our airplane is able to fly in the clouds, then I should be able to fly in the clouds as well. I’d never fly in scary weather, that’s just stupid, but having an IFR rating would allow us to worry less about weather when trying to come home from a weekend getaway or something like that. Plus, becoming an IFR pilot will greatly improve my piloting skills in general, and I’m always looking to become a better pilot.

Always learning. Always having fun.

Fly For Work.

I am sitting in Syracuse Airport awaiting my flight that will get me to Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was less than two weeks ago that I found out that work needed me to fly to our Fort Wayne office for some meetings. The timing of this trip is a little off, as Earl, Jamie and I are headed to Walt Disney World on Thursday morning. I land at Syracuse Wednesday evening at 11:00 p.m., head home, and then Earl and I leave for Orlando from Syracuse Airport on Thursday morning at 11:00 a.m. If I miss my connection in Atlanta on the way home from Fort Wayne, I’m just going to camp out there and meet Earl there to get to Orlando. There’s always a plan B.

Syracuse Airport is desperately trying to ramp up its facilities. They’ve added a couple of shops, a new “AleHouse” (though I question why a modern airport would want a bar called “Middle Ages AleHouse”) and Johnny Rockets will be opening soon.

I just ate a heat and serve Grilled Chicken Panini that was acceptable. The calories weren’t horrible and the staff was very friendly. I’m feeling good.

I wish I was flying the airplane today, but being a passenger is still aviation awesomeness. Any seat on an airplane is a great seat.

Photo on 3-15-15 at 4.25 PM #2

Respect.

While I’ve been trying to steer away from getting too emotional about politics lately, two recent developments in the arena have caught my attention. 

The first news item is Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server housed at her home in downstate New York during her tenure as Secretary of State. Apparently she had a server somewhere handling to @clintonemail.com domain and according to her explanation yesterday, it was because she wanted to carry only one device with her (like an iPhone or Blackberry or whatever) and she didn’t want to deal with multiple devices. She has her own server but her IT people can’t figure out how to put two email accounts on the same device, apparently. This revelation (the server, not the two accounts on the device thing) has created a media frenzy. Apparently Mrs. Clinton deleted everything she deemed personal and considers all her correspondence to @state.gov and other government addresses as the matter of record. 

OK, so there’s quite a few holes in the logic. The fact that no one brought up red flags during the time that she was using her own server is disturbing enough. Of course, many are weighing in on the matter, including Sarah Palin, who condemned the practice. Because apparently, using your own server is a no-no but using a Yahoo email address as the Governor of Alaska is, you betcha, okie-dokie.

Now see, that last sentence there makes me sound disrespectful of the Governor of Alaska, when indeed, I just don’t like Sarah Palin. In fact, I believe that whoever brought Sarah Palin into the spotlight in the first place should be tried as a terrorist. As far as the Governor of Alaska, well, I don’t know who that is right now but whomever it is probably did their best to get there and hopefully they’ll ignore precedent and stay the course until the end of their term. They are the elected leader of the people of Alaska, and I respect that. Respect is important.

The second news item that has caught my attention is the letter signed by 47 members of the GOP to the Iranian government, essentially circumventing the negotiations that President Obama is trying to, well, negotiate. This unprecedented act is completely disrespectful of the spirit of our country and the role of the President of the United States.



Look, I’m not the biggest fan of President Obama. I think he’s done an adequate job and honestly, my life as an American right now is in good shape because of the work he has done as President. I voted for him because I believe he was the best choice at the time, but I don’t think he was ever the ideal choice. I might not agree with everything President Obama does as Commander-In-Chief, but I certainly respect the position he holds. I respect the office of the President. I will voice my praise and my opposition of policy, as a U.S. Citizen I have the right to do that, but I will never go out of my way to make the office look bad. I don’t believe that anyone, especially elected officials, should be going out of their way to make our country look bad, disorganized or unresolved. I wasn’t a fan of President George W. Bush at all; I thought that he took many missteps along the way and I didn’t agree with much of his policy, but when push came to shove, he was the Commander-In-Chief and I still respected that. 

I think there’s a current of disrespect in our society these days that is damaging for the long term. I wonder if some of it stems from the outspokenness one can have on the Internet under a guise of anonymity. People think nothing of being disrespectful in comments on a political story or in the stream underneath a YouTube video. Users type without thinking; they spew their venom, completely disrespect their target and then move on. As people become more brazen on the Internet, I think this behavior starts to carry into real-life. How many videos have you seen where a customer has completely trashed a McDonalds because they couldn’t get Chicken Nuggets when they wanted them? It’s a lack of respect; respect for property, respect for people and respect for fellow human beings.

Smashing out a drive-thru window in a fit of rage is basically what happens when Congressional members write letters to Iran saying that they can easily undo anything that our Commander-In-Chief does. Why would you go out of your way to make your leader look weak? Just because you don’t like him? Well, you may not like him but you have to respect the position that he holds. You can disagree, you can voice opposition, but dont’ be disrespectful and don’t undermine him.  That’s good for no one.

I think we need to start respecting one another again. Smile at the drive thru window, don’t rage. Be kind to the person behind the airline counter, don’t have some hellacious hissy fit. Be respectful.

Melting. 

Last week this field was nothing but a field of white. While there is still at least a foot of snow on the ground, it’s good to see that melting is in progress. 

I talk about the weather a lot. I guess I’m excited that I made it through another winter. Barry Manilow may have made it through the rain, but I made it through the snow. 



Prep.

I recently signed to ride my bike in this year’s Tour de Cure. Last year I rode the 62 mile, or 100 km (metric-century) ride. This year I decided to push myself a little harder and signed up for the 100 mile ride. The event takes place in June.  If you’re interested in contributing a donation to my ride, please feel free to visit my Tour de Cure Personal Page.

While I have been riding my stationary bike in the basement on an intermittent basis this winter, I feel like the experience does little in the way of getting me ready for a season of road cycling. Since the weather started to creep back into normal ranges this week, I started my pre-workday walk. I spend 45 to 60 minutes walking the roads of our neighborhood. It was 15ºF this morning when I went out; I bundled up and still found the walk to be enjoyable. 

Once the snow is gone and the roads are relatively debris free, I plan on riding my bike before work as I have done in years past. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve ridden a 100-mile ride in a day and quite honestly I’m really looking forward to the experience. Most importanly, it’s all for a great cause.  I’m planning on this ride being just one of many longer road trips on my bike this year. My plan for the nice weather is that if I’m not flying an airplane, I’m riding my bike.

With the weather finally getting somewhere in the direction of spring, I have started spending more time outdoors. I have a bad habit of staying cooped up in the house, especially since I work from home, and it does me a world of good to see some sunshine and a change of scenery throughout the day. For today’s lunch hour I’m sitting in the Jeep armed with an unsweetened tea from Dunkin’ Donuts, just as I would do if I was working at the office.

Unlike the office experience, the view here is a little bit better. Instead of staring at a shopping center parking lot, I’m able to enjoy the likes of the Barge Canal, which is just starting to show signs of thawing.



It’s a great day to be lunching in the Jeep.