Cabin Fever.

After 52 hours of being in the house, I had to get outside. It’s still quite cold but not awful. It’s currently -3°F with a wind chill of -10°F.

My lungs hurt for the first few moments of my walk. I have ice eye upon my return. But at least I got outside.

Tomorrow it’s going to be 22°F! I hope the Regal Beagle opens up the patio.

Gazing.

Venus and Jupiter join The Moon in the predawn sky over Chicago. Taken today at 0640 CST. Embiggen to get a better peek.

Snow.

I went for my morning walk this morning. There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground and my legs got quite a workout.

Exercise is good.

Posing.

Truman is starting to enjoy his new home and cat condo. It’s time for an obligatory “posing for animal crackers” photo.

News?

So, is there anything going on in the news today? I hear Ann Coulter is not happy because Trump did not heed her words. She spat a spite tweet and tried to garner more notoriety for herself. Her brand is notoriety.

Earl and I are watching The Rachel Maddow Show this evening. Earl’s been watching the news all day today. During my workday I monitored the slowing down of the nation’s airspace due to staffing issues at key Air Traffic Control Centers in Jacksonville and Boston. Once air traffic in and out of the New York airports started happening, it was only a matter of time before Trump finally caved and realized he isn’t going to get money for his stupid wall.

I unfriended a few Facebook “friends” this evening. They were going on and on about illegal immigrants spreading disease. I think they were thinking the illegal immigrants were coming into their town from Mexico, New York. There’s no way these “friends” had traveled any farther south than the New York-Pennsylvania border. I’m pretty sure illegal immigrants aren’t flocking to Oswego, New York to rip NASCAR opportunities away from the natives. A couple of these “friends” may have been related by blood. I just hit delete delete delete.

When I was younger I never realized the stark differences in political beliefs between my paternal and maternal sides of the family. There’s a reason I’m little bit country and little bit rock ‘n roll.

Apparently Bernie Sanders is announcing his intent to run for the presidency again. Someone needs to tell Bernie that his services are not required. He won’t make the spotlight this time around.

It’s way too early to decide who I like for presidential candidates for next year’s election. It’s interesting to see how the field is starting to fill up. I have pretty middle of the road standards for presidential candidates. Despite my rantings and ravings during this miserable, failed hissy fit of an administration, I am solidly in the political center. Since it’s going to be cold this weekend I’ll probably write more; perhaps I’ll share an updated bullet list of my political beliefs.

It makes for fun reading.

Driving.

I love roads. I went to school for Civil Engineering because I love roads. I find the way expressways and roads wind their way across the United States to be absolutely fascinating.

That being said, I am not a fan of urban driving. As an urban dweller in the third largest city in the United States, I am a proud public transit kind of guy. I believe if the ‘L’, METRA or bus takes me where I want to go, or if I can walk there in a reasonable amount of time, the car should stay in the garage.

Driving around the city makes me crazy. It feels so unnecessary. I get driving to a shopping center if you’re hauling home a Mac or something, or if you’re bring home a haul from the grocery store, but if I’m going out for brunch?

I want someone else to drive.

AA 2667.

I am currently on a flight from Raleigh-Durham to OHare after a wonderful weekend with friends. We are flying at FL240 because the winds aloft are so high and they’re trying to get as much ground speed as possible. This is making for some great views as we cross the Appalachians.

They’re not the Rocky Mountains but they’re bumpy.

I’m seated in an exit row again and it is enjoyable. The seat to my left is empty. Another score for roominess on my second flight in a row.

I am a little surprised the beverage service hasn’t started yet. Perhaps it will start soon. Earl and I have lunch plans when we get back home. It will hopefully be somewhere warm since it’s currently 9°F.

Everyone can calm down, the cart was just led down the aisle.

Being relatively off the grid this weekend, as well as being mostly unplugged from news has contributed to this centered feeling I am experiencing. I feel like the stress of the holidays has melted away, work feels like it will be under control (I even cleaned out my inbox this morning), and the days are getting longer.

One of my goals this week is to find reliable sources of news (political and technological), with as least spin as possible. I think part of that goal involves finding sources that are not dependent on ad clicks and solely ad revenue. PBS, NPR, and newspapers come to mind. I might even have to subscribe to something.

My goal is to be informed, not to be told what to think. Find the good. Be the light.

And avoid the high winds aloft.

20 Days.

We are 20 days into 2019. It seems like it’s been a lot longer. Perhaps I pay too much attention to the news and television, but mark that down into the column of “concerned citizen”.

I’m still trying to hold onto my “resolutions” for the New Year. I’m doing pretty well at the changes I wanted to introduce to my life, but I am resolving to double down on my efforts, here at the 20 day mark.

Exit Row.

On this American flight from Chicago O’Hare to Raleigh-Durham I am sitting in the exit row. I’m actually sitting in the exit row on the way home as well, but please do me a favor and don’t tell my husband because there might have been a slight up charge to get an exit row.

Sitting in an exit row on an American Boeing 737 gives you a lot of extra leg room. I am enjoying being able to cross my legs and maneuver around in my seat like a normal person. The perk of this particular flight is there is no one sitting in the middle seat. The man on the aisle and I rejoiced about this in a masculine way when we took our seats during boarding.

Please don’t judge me for rejoicing in a masculine way.

If you’ve never sat in the exit row before, there is a bit of responsibility associated with the honor. You have to be aware of how the exit door works, you need to review the safety card so you know the intricacies of your responsibilities in the event of an emergency, you need to be able to understand and speak English and you have to follow all flight crew instructions.

Most importantly, you have to verbally respond when the flight attendant asks if you are willing and able to perform the duties associated with being seated in an exit row.

Being seated in seat 15F, the nice flight attendant asked each passenger in row 14 before moving to my row. Each of the folks in the row in front of me responded with a simple “Yes”. Some seemed agitated by the practice.

It takes every ounce of my being to conceal my excitement when the flight attendant asked me if I was willing and able to carry out the duties associated with sitting in an exit row.

“I’m a pilot!”, this is the first thing I want to blurt out.

“I LOVE AIRPLANES!”, this plays like a bright LED light across my forehead.

“I’m going cuz it’s a Boeing! w00t w00t”! The hands to the roof gesture is pre-emptied by sitting on my hands.

“Does Captain Montgomery have an extra jump seat up front?”, another thought that flies through my mind.

“Yes”. This is my adult reply.

Any seat on an airplane is awesome.

AA 1534.

Chicago O’Hare Terminal 3 Gate K1.

I’m waiting to board flight AA 1534 to Raleigh-Durham. Boarding begins in 15 minutes. I am seated in an exit row. I enjoy the responsibility.

The line for TSA was quite long this evening, snaking the entire length of this terminal. Luckily, TSA was moving folks through rather quickly. It’s been a while since I’ve kept my shoes on at a checkpoint.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the weather for this departure; it looks like it’ll be a smooth ride once we get up above the weather. I really wish I could be up front in the jump seat learning more about the Boeing 737 and how it flies. I’ll have to settle for a simulator until I can find someone that can legally take me for a ride while in the cockpit.

Speaking of which, Earl and I have been watching that new series “Manifest” on NBC. The storyline continues to be slow, some of the character development is tedious but anything about aviation is intriguing in my eyes. I’ve been looking for problems with the aviation details and it hasn’t been awful in that regard. I don’t know if the show will last to a season two, but for now it’s a good escape.

For tonight’s flight I’m going to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. I think I’ll skip the wifi and enjoy this old school, with a magazine and gazing out the window.

Because after all, any seat on any aircraft is an awesome seat.