Walk.

I walked six miles this morning. Walking about the streets of Chicago is always relaxing to me. Once off the main thoroughfares I find it to be very quiet. I do love the neighborhoods that I’ve been exploring.


The trees and flowers are coming into bloom, about a month ahead of schedule when compared to home. I find this a little odd, since Chicago has a similar climate as we have at home, though we definitely get more snow.

I stopped and said hello to a cat, who apparently has a fan club that stops by everyday and she performs by climbing up a tree and then jumping over to the roof of her catio. A woman stopped by and filled me in on the details of this famous feline. We chatted for about 15 minutes.

That would never happen back home. People aren’t particularly chatty in the Northeast.

This fluffy black cat reminded me of Cinders, a fluffy black kitten machine I had as a teenager. She was a bit spastic and not as charismatic as this lovely cat but then again she didn’t have an audience other than the other cats. She was fine in her own way.

After 15 minutes of chatter I never did find out this cat’s name.


I feel very comfortable here in the Windy City. I’m looking forward to another morning walk tomorrow before going to the Cubs game.

1 Comment

The 21s.

Twenty-one years ago today Earl and I went on our first date. We had known each other casually for a couple of months beforehand, but our first official date was on this day in 1996. We met up in Albany with a group of friends and ended up ditching the friends and going on a long ride in my ’94 Hyundai Excel through the lower parts of Vermont, just getting to know each other.

I knew on that day that my life was changed forever. I had no doubt that I was driving around with the man that was destined to be “the one”. I had found the love of my life.

The journey was just beginning.

Twenty-one years later, here we are, beginning a string of 21 year anniversaries that will include our first date, when we moved in together, the first time I said “I love you” to him and our commitment ceremony. I remember each of these things like it was yesterday.

And there is still no doubt in my mind, not one trace of doubt, nor has there ever been, that I was completely correct on 4/13/96. I had met the love of my life.

I am one lucky man.

2 Comments

Alternate Reality.

The Supreme Court had determined that because the current administration had basically collapsed, a special election would be held in 2017 to determine the next president. The corruption of the current administration had caused these drastic measures. It was time for society to rally around the Republic and get the country back in shape. A lot had happened in six months.

The plan was surprisingly simple. The designated six months would be divided into thirds. The first two months would allow those interested in running to campaign for the primaries. The primaries would be held, in near unison, at the beginning of August. Both conventions would be held the last week of August and the candidates from both parties would campaign in September and October, with the election being held on Election Day 2017. The president elected at that time would be sworn in the Friday after Thanksgiving and would serve an abbreviated term of three years. If this fast paced election cycle could be pulled off successfully, it would become a model for future presidential elections in the United States in an attempt to prevent media, monetary and foreign “sway”.

Because this election cycle was so abbreviated, I was asked to work for a campaign in the role of CIO. None of the campaigns had raised a lot of money in such a short amount of time, my chief role as CIO was to be assured that folks that brought their own laptops for campaign purposes had secure connections to the pertinent databases and the machines were deemed clean.

I had never met the candidate. She was well known and had run for president before. This was her last chance. It was like a golden ticket from nine Willy Wonkas dressed in the robes reserved for the judicial types.

I was busy doing my work when she walked into the room. She was wearing red pant suit, her demeanor was pleasant but very firm. She knew what she wanted to accomplish, she wasn’t going to let this last chance slip by without one last fight. She was tired but she was determined. 

I was looking down at a Linux box trying to figure out why it had a monochromatic CRT green screen when she spoke, “I hear you’re keeping my network secure and getting the information we need.”

I looked up quickly at a familiar face and stammered, “Madam Secretary… um, uh, I wasn’t expecting you to be here. It’s an honor, ma’am.”

“Please, call me Hillary. Is there anything I need to know?”

“Just one thing, ma’am. That it with all my hope and might that the American people get it right this time”, was my simple reply. Before she walked away, I said, “it’s an honor, Madam Secretary. If I may, any chance we can take a quick selfie?”

She smiled, put her arm around me and walked over as we stood close together and smiled at my iPhone.

As in all my dreams, the selfie never came out. I couldn’t see it.

And that’s when I woke up back to this reality. 

Be Better.

I’m getting tired of reading about the recent rise of bigotry, racism, misogyny and homophobia in the United States. School shootings still make me shed a tear, no matter how commonplace they become. No matter how hard folks try, one can never erase the fact that POTUS 44 was a black man and the Republic is better for it as a result of his leadership. Do unto others as they would do unto you. Give more to society than you receive. It’s not hard, people. But we live in a time where willful ignorance and outright stupidity are celebrated. “It’s not my problem” is the mantra of the day. Stupid, idiotic, banal things like Pepsi ads and James Bond microwave oven conspiracy theories and Kardashians are the distraction from the nepotism, the stripping of common sense legislation and the sheer greed planting strong roots in Washington D.C. Our government should have representatives of sides of a debate, not warring factions intent on the utter destruction of “the other team”. This is not a reality TV show. This is real life. And we should be working together, through compromise, intelligent debate and without these grandiose, empty and often damaging gestures to make the entire world a better place. When our country thrives, the world thrives. As a pilot I can tell you this: when you look down from the sky, there’s no way to tell one country or one state from another unless you build a wall. Don’t build a wall. Build a better world.

Keeping Up.

In a way it’s hard for me to believe that it’s only Tuesday. Outside of pilot stuff, I’ve scaled away from social media and news outlets, trying to find contentment in my own little world. However, once in a while I see what’s going on via Twitter or breaking news alerts on my phone and I’m just so dang confused about our part of the world.

A man fatally shot a teacher, one of her students and himself, while also injuring another child in the process in San Bernardino, California yesterday, but this act of gun violence doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention on social media. It’s like the American public has become desensitized to gun violence in schools in the day and age in our country. Such a sad state of affairs.

There’s a whole bunch of outrage about basically every wrong decision an airline can make when United Express forced “volunteers” off a flight from Chicago to Louisville to make room for United employees that needed to get to Louisville to work. There was screaming, chaos, resistance, police involvement, a passenger yanked out of his purchased seat, bonked against an armrest and then dragged down the aisle where he apparently, ten minutes later, gained access back to the aircraft, face covered in blood and wrapped himself around a post in the back of the airplane. He was removed again. I’m sick of this story, I’m sick of really stupid airlines and while I think United was completely in the wrong in this instance, the man should re-evaluate his ability to pick which battles to fight. I guess I place a lot of emphasis on personal dignity and self-respect.

Then there’s a bunch of outrage this evening because Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer said something really stupid about Hitler and the holocaust, basically reducing it to some sort of unfortunate incident in the 20th century history books and now he’s apologizing and clarifying and doing the usual spin and twist of any typical Trump Administration official.

No one seems to notice that whatever part of the timeline in the grand scheme of things that we are currently sitting on, this part of the timeline is completely on fire. 

Oh, and Trump is kind of picking fights with various other nuclear powers in the world, so I’ll be happy awaking each morning knowing that we weren’t wiped off the face of the planet by nukes in our sleep.

I’m getting to the point to where I really can’t keep up with the news anymore. I can’t keep up with the real news, I can’t keep up with the idiocy going on in Washington and I certainly can’t keep up with the mass Pearl Clutching in progress every day over some new topic in which to engage in faux outrage.

I feel just as confused as Dorothy when Sophia was made over to look like a 65-year old Drag Queen. I wish life was that simple again. I wish there was a laugh track.

Bea

I guess we just need to keep looking for the bright side.

Learning.

So I’ve been working on my IFR, or Instrument Flight Rules, rating, the next logical step in my flying career. I have set some goals for 2017 and the next couple of years. My goal is to become a CFI, or Certified Flight Instructor, as part of my early retirement plan. 

I really want to lend my passion and excitement to training the next generation of pilots, no matter their age.

This evening, my instructor Chuck and I went up flying to do some practice approaches while in a partial panel condition. “Partial Panel” refers to losing some key instruments while in instrument only conditions. I’m wearing foggles, which limits my view to the instrument panel only. This is like flying in the clouds.

That’s when Chuck put stickers on two key instruments: the Attitude Indicator and the Heading Indicator. At this point, I needed to fly by the remaining instruments only, keep the airplane upright and safely get it to our intended airport. 

The lesson went very well. I’m feeling more and more confident flying by only instruments.

I need to do some book studying to get the written exam out of the way and then I’ll be ready to start practicing for my instrument check ride.

Never stop learning, it keeps you young.

17880051 1889480481308104 3451663408197322790 o

Lucky.

I am a lucky man to have a husband that doesn’t mind getting in an airplane with me and flying for three hours just for the heck of it.

Odds.

Our local casino has a reputation for having some of the “tightest” slot machines in the country. New York State is big on casinos these days, and the local casino was the first one in the state. While I have happy memories of the casino, after all Earl and I were married there and I have hit the big jackpot once or twice on a slot machine, the fact of the matter is that I have given more of our money to the casino than they have given us.

And that’s how casinos stay in business, right?

The thing that frustrates me about this casino and playing slot machines is that they have the exact same machines as every other casino. I can play the same game the same way at two different casinos, one of them being this local one, and I will never, ever hit the “bonus” round or the “bonus feature”. If I play the exact same game the exact same way using the same amount of money at the start, I’ll hit the bonus feature at least once or twice if not more. I still might not win but it makes me feel engaged with the game. Our casino never feels engaging or exciting, it’s more of a drain on the pocket and the psyche.

But, we keep going back.

Earl does well at keeping his head above water when walking out of the casino for the night. Me, on the other hand, I handle the guilt for the both of us.

Dance.

Sometimes you just have to dance. After all, it’s Friday.

h/t to Mark at Voenix Rising for jogging my memory with this song. It had slipped from my memory, but when I saw this video I did remember that the video version is a little different than all the other versions, in that the lyrics are changed, “my good time radio” instead of “my midnight radio” and “dj’s radio” instead of “midnight radio”.

Here’s Taffy with “I Love My Radio” from 1986.