Night Flight.

It’s been a year since I last flew at night. As an American private pilot, I need to be night current to take someone flying with me at night. Night currency is defined as three full stop landings more than an hour after sunset within the past 90 days.

With instructor Dominic as safety pilot, I achieved that this evening in one of the Diamond DA40s I fly.

It’s been since the beginning of May that I last flew a DA40. Most of my 2020 flight time has been spent in “Large Marge”, the Cessna 182 with retractable gear that my husband and I enjoy flying around in. “Large Marge” is like flying a truck, flying the DA40 is like flying a sports car. Both are a lot of fun in their own way.

I had a lot of fun flying tonight. Become a pilot is one of my greatest accomplishments, and I hope to continue enjoying the experience for as long as possible.

Road Trip.

Dirt road at night.
Interstate 55.

I took the day off from work and meandered around the rural parts of Northeastern Illinois. I generally kept it between Chicago and Peoria. Other than getting beyond Joliet and coming home after having a bite to eat for supper, I drove back roads and scenic routes.

There’s a fewer number of Trump signs on lawns in the villages. I saw more Biden signs than ever, which I found surprising for the rural parts of the state. This gave me a glimmer of hope.

Whenever I stopped folks were generally wearing masks; there was maybe one or two people total that didn’t have a mask on when I stopped at a Walmart to use the rest room.

I let my mind meander as I meandered around the Illinois River Valley. It’s a good way for me to figure things out.

And now I’m ready for a proper weekend.

11 Days.

It’s a beautiful night in the Windy City. The temperature is over 70ºF. There’s a mystical breeze blowing from the southwest. This is my most favorite type of relaxing weather. This is my favorite time of the year.

My husband watched the debate while I went for a walk through the neighborhood. I saw a few households lit up with the debate on their large televisions. With the nice weather I heard a couple of folks yell back at their television. I can’t bear to watch the debates. I still want to kick the television screen in whenever I hear Trump’s voice. To think there would be a day where I’d pine for the frivolity of George W. Bush.

It’s 11 days until the official Election Day. Millions and millions of people have already voted. Record numbers. People are voting. It gives me a glimmer of hope.

But boy, are these next 11 days going to drag on like an eternity.

We had many thunderstorms roll through the Windy City last night so we didn’t get much sleep. The news featured a photo of three distinct lightning bolts simultaneously striking the Trump Tower here in Chicago. God is speaking. It’s a shame his followers don’t listen. They’re reduced to cult status. I’d pity them if I wasn’t so angry and concerned with the state of this nation.

Watch.

I’m still proudly rockin’ an Apple Series 3 Watch. This is my second Apple Watch, my husband still wears my first, and I purchased this right after the Series 3 was introduced to mix. For the most part it has been a flawless experience.

Earlier this month (or was it at the end of last month?) Apple release Watch OS 7. Ever since upgrading to Watch OS 7 my watch has been sporadically rebooting. This experience hasn’t been limited to my Series 3 watch, plenty of other users have voiced their concerns with the same behavior. I found the glitch to be very frustrating, as it seems my watch especially enjoyed rebooting when I went to pay for something with Apple Pay. I don’t like holding up checkout lines.

Apple released Watch OS 7.0.1 but it didn’t address the rebooting issue. I was a bit surprised by this, especially since Apple is still selling this exact model watch as their low end offering. Plenty of other users were experiencing the same thing. After the update to 7.0.1 I futzed around with the watch a bit and figured out that the rebooting seemed to be related to displaying the city of the weather app on the watch face. If I used a watch face that didn’t show “Chicago” (or wherever I was) next to the forecast, it didn’t reboot as much.

Until the release last week.

Over the weekend my watch was rebooting like crazy again. This pushed me to the point of frustration, so I wiped the watch out and set it up as a brand new watch.

This fixed the rebooting issue. It also significantly extended the battery life. My watch is snappy and happy again.

Of course, Apple released Watch OS 7.0.2 to address the rebooting issue. I updated to it and it’s still purring along like a contented kitty.

I feel like I still have plenty of life in this watch. It does everything I want it to do and now that the rebooting issue has been resolved I’m feeling confident with its functionality again.

I’ll upgrade when this one completely gives up the ghost.

Velocity.

Last week our condo building had some hot water issues. There are several hot water tanks on the top floor of the building and they feed water to the condo units via recirculating pumps. One of the pumps failed and therefore we had lowered water pressure. It would take nearly five minutes for hot water to get to our shower. I had to plan ahead in the morning. I don’t even speak English that well in the morning.

At the same time, the cold water main into our unit sprung a very small leak and decided to start dripping in the ceiling, resulting in water spots and the like above the washing machine in the utility room. We had a maintenance team over and they cut a hole in the ceiling sheetrock. The source of the leak was identified; a copper joint was the culprit. It is located less than two inches away from our gas main.

Let’s not go boom.

So, the Condo Association and Management Company hired a plumber to take care of a few jobs at once. A very eccentric man, he quickly fixed the leak in our laundry room with some sort of new compression fittings for copper piping that didn’t require soldering or any other sort of flame. Now, we just have to get our ceiling repaired.

Afterwards he went on to fix the few other plumbing issues throughout the building, including the hot water issue on the top floor. Apparently the pumps are not the type to be easily obtained, but within a few days, the management company sent out an all-points bulletin declaring our hot water issues were resolved. After a few days of low pressure showers, I was ready to get back to business with my morning routine.

I’m (not surprisingly) somewhat picky about my shower experience. I like a fairly high pressure shower. I want a shower that is going to pin me against the wall. I carefully picked out a specific shower head known for its aggressive tendencies and have been enjoying the results of my research. I like a shower that requires a seat belt.

The thing is, after the declaration of “all is well”, the water pressure was still low. It was better than it was but it was in no way where it was before the whole affair began. I didn’t need a seat belt. I needed a booster seat.

I made another call to the plumber.

Before charging us for another visit, he suggested we take off the shower head and make sure no sediment had come through the pipes during the recent discussion. So I followed his lead and took off the shower head. I shook it to make sure nothing was in there, it was clear. I looked up into the pipe coming out of the wall, all was clear. I decided to run water without the shower head just to see how good the pressure was. It was good, not great. All of a sudden, the pipes made a few seconds of a banging sound in the wall and something came flying out in the water stream.

It was an aerator for a faucet.

Now, it wasn’t in the pipe when I looked inside. It wasn’t in the shower head. It apparently had been floating around in the pipes for who knows how long and had apparently made its way to our unit to impede my shower experience. Once it exited the pipe, the water pressure shot up well above anything we had experienced before. I turned off the water, put the shower head back in place, and decided to give it a whirl.

I’m now going to need a five point seat belt for my shower experience. I couldn’t be more delighted.

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Lights.

I like the bedroom to be as dark as possible when it’s time to go to sleep. This is one of the reasons I’ve held onto the GE Alarm Clock I bought back in 1988; the red LED lights cast absolutely no glow onto my nightstand. Unfortunately, the other functions of the alarm clock are starting to fail.

I tried using one of the Amazon Echo Dots with an LED clock built in. Even at its lowest brightness setting, the clock on the Echo lights up the room enough to distract me while I’m trying to sleep. Aside from the weird maneuvers one has to take to actually turn the alarm off (without barking out commands to Alexa while your husband is sleeping), the brightness of the display ruled out using this little technological miracle on my nightstand.

This is the problem with today’s technology. Everything has some sort of LED light on it. My wireless iPhone charger? White indicator light. Check. Covered with black electrical tape. Check. Sonos speaker? White indicator light indicating its ready to play music. Check. Moved to another room? Check. WiFi repeater? Blue LED light. Check. Turned off in system settings? THANK YOU.

Back in the days when I traveled for work I kept a roll of black electrical tape in my bag to cover all the indicator lamps that are plastered all over technological doo-dads found in your hotel room. And please don’t tell me to sleep with some sort of eye mask to block out light, that’s simply not my jam.

I know LED lamps help control energy cost and are ultimately better for the environment, but we don’t need a status light on every piece of technology released to the masses.

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Countdown.

Regardless of the outcome, I will be happy when the 2020 Presidential Election is behind us. Of course I prefer one candidate over the other, however, the stress of all of this election related crap on the news channels is enough to make me want to hide somewhere until it blows over.

The outcome will affect how I feel about this country, but the uncertainty of it all right now is the stress of the moment. I’ll worry about the rest once I know what we’re in for.

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Home.

Photo grabbed from Metro.style.

Desperate for variety on the entertainment devices during these pandemic times, I started diving deeper into the offerings from Apple TV+. We’ve been through “For All Mankind”, “The Morning Show”, and the LGBTQ+ documentary “Visible: Out On Television”. I was looking for something not too heavy but a little more along the lines of informative instead of fiction. I landed on a series “Home”.

The official description of the series:

Discover the groundbreaking ideas and inspiring stories behind the world’s most imaginative dwellings. In this globe-spanning docuseries, meet the visionaries who are challenging conventional concepts of “home” and rethinking how we live.

https://tv.apple.com/us/show/home/umc.cmc.5xjrgoblr5l5i1ypamtayuhe9

We watched the first two episodes of the series to see if we enjoyed it. In the first episode, a Swedish family discusses the building of a log cabin inside a greenhouse, and vibe it brings to their family. There’s some discussion around construction and political challenges, but the episode is focused on the family unit and their little piece of utopia inside their walls. Apparently this design is not unique, and there’s a small movement of “Nature Houses” popping up in Europe.

I am intrigued by this concept and I’m going to be reading more around the idea.

The second episode featured an artist on the south side of Chicago who is turning abandoned building into cultural, celebratory art centers.

From the Apple TV+ website

It’s always wonderful to see someone who appreciates what we have and who decides to restore instead of replace. Too often the south side of Chicago gets a bad rap. It’s good to see folks who proudly call the neighborhoods home.

VR.

Jamie and Chris have a new Oculus Quest 2. It’s a fully contained, quite affordable Virtual Reality headset from Facebook. The experience is amazing.

I gave it a whirl and was impressed at how quickly I was able to adapt to the controls and how immersive the experience is. I could easily see this tech doing amazing things, and not just for gaming. I wonder how long it will be before we all just put VR headsets on for our Zoom calls.

Decorations.

I think the neighborhood has more Halloween decorations this year than the number of Christmas decorations last year. There’s pumps and compressors blowing up all sorts of ghouls and goblins. Lights adorn many fences and porches. Two and three flats are adorned with decked out balconies. Every once in a while a tree or a porch will make a screeching sound as one walks by. Motion sensor technology is cool!