Still Pumped.

I mentioned a while back that I had started rewatching “Star Trek: Voyager” from the very beginning of the series. Today I watched my daily episode; I’m in the middle of Season 4. I’m still thoroughly enjoying rewatching the show and Janeway is still my favorite captain of the entire franchise.

The “Star Trek: Picard” trailer came up in my Youtube video suggestions again this evening so I watched it again. I am still getting goosebumps when Voyager’s Seven of Nine (played by Jeri Ryan) appears on the screen.

I’ve never been able to stomach “Star Trek: Discovery”, but “Picard” has enough familiar elements hinted in the trailer and press I’ve seen thus far that I’m already budgeting for CBS All Access when this series is released.

I just have a feeling it’s going to be awesome.

Reading ahead a chapter or two and it looks like Riker and Deanna Troi are also going to be in the new series this season and there’s talk of Voyager’s Doctor appearing in the second season.

Is there a small possibility that we’ll see Kate Mulgrew’s Admiral Janeway as well? I really, really hope so.

Potential Boom.

Last week, Apple announced a recall for a specific model of their MacBook Pro line. In line with this recall was an FAA announcement that this certain model of MacBook Pro would not be allowed on passenger and cargo flights, much like the Samsung Galaxy Note a year or two ago. It seems there was an issue with the battery and a concern that the computer would catch on fire or explode, especially with the variable pressure encountered during airline flights. I paid little attention to this announcement other than surprise that an Apple device would be in company with the likes of something made by Samsung. I figured the recall affected a small handful of computers and Apple would carry out the battery replacement program, some pundits would gripe, and that would be that. I felt slight disappointment in the creeping mediocrity Apple has demonstrated over the past couple of years, but I wasn’t super surprised.

Well it turns out the recall affects the last version of the 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro (the late 2015 model). Not really knowing the specifics of the recall until this morning, I was a little surprised when I ran across another news release and realized my beloved laptop could be part of the chosen pack; an entry of the serial number in Apple’s informational webpage confirmed my suspicions.

Apparently my MacBook Pro could explode or catch fire at any moment. The website advised to stop using it immediately and arrange for the recall. The issue is, I’ll be without my computer for two or so weeks, because they have to be shipped by ground, since they’re banned from flying.

Honestly, my MacBook Pro has flown thousands of miles over the past four years.

Now I’m a little ticked. If Apple went ahead and allowed for batteries that could be swapped out this wouldn’t be an issue. But the battery (or batteries, I’m not sure) are soldered into the motherboard and so the whole computer has to be ripped apart by a qualified technician.

On the bright side, I’ll have a new battery in my computer which was just starting to show signs of battery fatigue. On the not so bright side, I’m going to be without my MacBook Pro for a while.

My question is, will the FAA allow my computer on a flight after the repair has been made? Is there going to be some sort of little sticker that indicates a battery repair?

We can’t afford a new computer at this time. I’m going to just get this one fixed and hope for the best.

I hope it doesn’t explode in the meanwhile.

Alternate.

So I had planned a cross-country flight from Waukegan, Illinois to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for yesterday. Earl and I were to fly in the DA-40 to Oshkosh, grab a crew car from the FBO (Fixed Base Operator), have some lunch and visit my Dad’s name on the EAA Memorial Wall. I try to visit once a year and it’s always occurred during EAA’s AirVenture (the world’s largest aviation gathering). This was my first time to Oshkosh outside of AirVenture.

In the days leading up to the flight I had been monitoring the weather. I had planned to fly up at 6500′ and fly back at 7500′, passing outside of Milwaukee’s airspace. I knew the weather was not going to be crystal clear but I was hopeful that we could make our way up and back without having to go too far out of our way to avoid rain. As a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) pilot, I must stay clear of clouds and that’s usually easy to do.

The weather at Waukegan would have made for a beautiful departure, but the forecast indicated that coming home would have been tricky. Thunderstorms were predicted to pop up, but the placement and timing was an uncertainty. I was ready to go; we were even at the airplane with the canopy open and I was starting to get my electronics and like in place, but something in my gut told me not to go.

I always trust my gut.

We ended up driving to Oshkosh instead. It was beautiful the entire time we were up there. Looking back at our home airport, however, showed rain storms and impressive gusts blowing through the area. Getting home would have been a tricky deal and would have involved threading around storms, possibly landing at alternate airports and subsequently waiting for storms to pass.

If I owned my own airplane without obligations to be back at a certain time, I might have considered it. But in a rental in a time slot? I didn’t need the extra pressure.

It was a wonderful day to drive.

Earl and I drove straight to the airport and visited the Memorial Wall. Seeing Oshkosh in its non-AirVenture state just connected me more to the experience of aviation. One of the closest times I ever spent with my father was when he invited me to join my grandfather and him to Oshkosh for my 16th birthday back in 1984.

Oshkosh will always hold a special place in my heart.

Earl and I are already booked for our trip to EAA AirVenture next July and I’m looking forward to the experience. I’m hoping to have my instrument certificate by then. In the meanwhile, I’m happy with the decision I made yesterday.

I look forward to becoming a very old aviator.

Caturday.

Truman has settled in nicely over the past 6 1/2 months. He has a routine and he’s gotten used to the fact that weekends are not the same as weekdays. He’s not a super cuddler, he prefers to be near you rather than on you. He’s also the first cat I’ve known to show a complete disregard for the human between point A and point Z; for example, while traversing from a spot on the floor to the spot on the couch, he’ll use me or Earl as a stepping stone just as if we were a cat tree, a coffee table, or a chair. He doesn’t care if we’re napping on the couch. I’ve been startled more than once by him jumping from the floor directly onto my stomach while making his way to a his favorite spot on the couch. This is startling. I’ve learned not to drop a string of curse words at him. He doesn’t care about curse words anyway.

I am slightly concerned about his weight and we do our best to keep the treats and feedings under control. His feeder measures his food in “paddles” and we reduced his feedings by one paddle per meal. He has gained 1 1/2 pounds since moving in with us. We have a lot of playtime to keep him active.

He can be feisty.

Commute.

So the last two days of work have been all about training. The company has a few offices in Chicagoland, but as an official remote employee, I’ve never been to these offices before. However, since some management training became available, I decided to sign up, dust off my badge, and make a trek to the ‘burbs.

Having never officially commuted for work in Chicago, I left myself plenty of time to get to the office. I needed to travel about 25 miles by car (17 miles as the crow flies). I allowed myself 1 hour and 45 minutes, because I am no stranger to Chicago and I know how traffic works.

It turns out I needed 1 hour and 30 minutes of that time. I had just enough time to grab a cup of coffee, meet fellow employees in person, and settle into my seat at the training room at a comfortable pace.

I actually loved the experience of commuting again, despite the traffic doing what it does. It was much more interesting than the commuting I engaged in back in Upstate New York, where I’d wave at the same cow or have to slow down for an Amish buggy delivery milk day after day, but being able to people watch other commuters on the various expressways along my route was a refreshing change of pace.

I might have to head out to the offices more often.

I Like You.

It’s Wednesday night. It’s summer and it’s time to dance. From 1985, here’s “I Like You” by Phyllis Nelson. One of my favorites from my DJ days.

Tariffs.

As seen in The Verge:

The United States will delay proposed tariffs on many consumer electronics imported from China, the Trump administration said today, giving a reprieve to gadget makers that are hoping to wait out a trade war between the two countries.

It’s amazing to me that many of the Trump supporters I know have mentioned they voted for him because he was so decisive, yet he whips his decisions around more than Sybil on a good day.

I’m no economist but if the United States can’t compete with overseas goods without charging excessive tariffs, then something is wrong with the way things are done in the United States. If we are going to be a capitalist society, we should be a capitalist society all the way, instead of imposing rules and fees and tariffs.

Just my $0.02.

Full story in The Verge.

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Aging.

I’m sitting on our balcony during a summertime rain storm. There’s no lightning or thunder involved, though the weather service said we’d be getting thunderstorms this evening; no, there’s just a lot of rain and it’s coming straight down. This affords me the opportunity to sit on our balcony, under the cover of the floor above, and remain dry. The effect is pleasing.

Earl and I and our family spent the weekend enjoying “Market Days” here in Chicago. It’s the largest street festival in the city of Chicago and it encompasses Boystown for the weekend. I enjoy Market Days more than Gay Pride here in the Windy City; people are just out having a good time. I know this sounds odd, but the crowd seems slightly more relaxed to me when compared to Pride. There’s still plenty of outrageous, but it’s a relaxed outrageous, if that makes any sense.

This weekend was the first time I’ve felt all of my 51 years of age at a gay event. I’m proud of who I am, where I am, and what my life is about these days, but watching the revelers do their thing I started to feel a little obsolete. The monotonous thump of what they call dance music today was a little on my nerves, I feel no need to drink a “Truly”, and even over a decade later I have no idea what a “kiki” is though I do believe several of them were occurring in my general vicinity.

As a private pilot who happens to be gay, I also really felt that I have little in common with some other members of the National Gay Pilots Association, other than the fact that we’re gay and we fly something that defies gravity. I mentioned this to Earl, and he said, “just because you’re pilots doesn’t make you instant friends”.

To me, aviation has always led to an instant friendship with another pilot, but then again, I grew up around old-school flying clubs. Many of these young pilots have learned to fly and made it career. I still fly for the fun of it.

I have no desire to be ‘young again’ because I still feel like the young man I was 20 years ago, just with some extra data in the memory banks and some aging on the outside. I look in the mirror and see lines from plenty of smiles around my eyes. When we were in Palm Springs a couple of weeks ago I saw plenty of faces pulled tighter than a bass drum. That’s not my jam, I’ve earned these lines and I’ve weathered some storms.

If I was a car in New York State I’d still pass inspection. I’d even pass the smog test.

It is interesting, however, to see society do a complete 180 on some things within my lifetime. Like, when I was in my teens, Nancy Reagan was telling us to “Just Say No”. We were shown ancient movies on a Bell and Howell projector about the dangers of smoking pot, and how it would apparently turn us into zombies, make us wear cardigan sweaters with the buttons misaligned while we rambled around the streets drooling, and turn our brains to frying eggs. Now in 2019, it’s legal in nearly half of the United States. I haven’t seen one person with egg for brains wearing a cardigan sweater.

I’m fascinated by yet feel separated from the gay culture of today. Do they know how many funerals I went to in the 80s and 90s? Do they know the meaning of the Silence = Death plaque on the wall? Do they know how to ACT-UP like we did?

More Distraction.

So Walmart has told its stores to take down any “signing and displays referencing violence”, including advertising for violent video games. However, they will continue to see guns as they do today. There’s no change there.

Wow, that will solve everything.

I am by no means anti-gun, but I am definitely anti-stupidity, and honestly, there is way too much stupidity going on in the United States. I’m surprised we’re not dumping Gatorade on crops to give them electrolytes.

Facts can not be debated. I know people like to watch news channels that reinforce their opinion and show people debating fact, but reinforced opinion is not the same as fact. It’s still opinion and while I’m at it, a repeated lie does not become a truth.

Other countries report video game revenue in proportion to the size of their population when compared to the United States. Would you like to take a guess as to what’s not in proportion? Mass shootings. Violent gun deaths. But by all means, let’s go after video games instead of doing anything, hell, I’ll take ONE thing, about regulating gun sales.

We are sending our loved ones to workplaces and schools and malls and concerts and festivals where they have to engage “Active Shooter Drills”. My old elementary school stood nearly 80 years without having bullet proof glass installed throughout the main entrance. It’s bad enough that we have an entire generation of Americans that has known nothing but a country at war.

Living in fear is not freedom. You can sing the National Anthem, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, demand everyone stand up in patriotic gestures, but singing and pledging and standing does not make freedom. Going shopping without worrying about getting shot by a maniac that bought a gun at Walmart, that’s a good start for freedom.

Politics.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read a social media update that says, “Just because I voted for Trump doesn’t mean I support his ideals”. Actually, these people are supporting his ideals by putting him and his incompetent, racist, unqualified ass in the Oval Office.

I have no tolerance for excuses.

I still maintain we had weak choices for President in 2016. Inexplicably we ended up with the weakest. And we are paying the price for it.

I have little faith in the American public to do the right thing in 2020. I have little faith in the Democrats to do the right thing. And we all know the media is going to frame anything and everything in most dramatic, contentious, confusing way possible to guarantee themselves as much ad revenue as possible.

And that’s why I’m not blogging much about politics these days. There’s actually too much to say.