Saturday, March 31, 2007

Well, I guess I can say it now...

(I have not used the ''Company" name up to now.)

But, since I no longer work for Raytheon... I'll say just that, "I no longer work for Raytheon Aircraft Services."

Sounds sooooo good!

There wont be many if any changes at this point but it just Sounds So Good!

(Just note that I am feelin' pretty ornery. It may have something to do with the blow to the head this morning. That particular airplane is out to get me!)

The C90 was gone this morning. I hope we hear something about the trim problem at least.

Happy Birthday to the Architect!!! I believe that his 40Th will be one to remember. I hope to do an interview with him soon, maybe an article about a current project.

Ah! The oven 'dinged'. Time for twice baked potato, steak, salad and a cold one.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Random Nada

It's a school night so I shouldn't stay up late!

First and actually importantly, something I want to pass on the my Friends en Honduras.
I saw on the Orwellian News Ticker at work that Dengue is on the rise in Mexico y Centro America. You probably already knew that but if not, I'd be remiss in not passing it on.
The info that is. Not the fever.

Orwellian TV. The "Company" has installed a 40" flat screen in the break room. The news ticker can be infuriating. Limited content and sanitized, politically correct bits of info. I actually heard a fellow worker complain that there was no sound!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(It's probably there. We just can't 'hear' it.)

While we are at the shop...

The "Roach Coach" uses a loud musical horn to announce his approach. It actually plays "La Cucaracha"!!!

The ailing 90 Model got two new Elevator Trim Actuators today. Serious Remington 12 Ga Troubleshooting. I don't know if it has flown again yet.

All hope has, for the time being, been abandoned in regards to the 7000 Ft Gremlin. My bet, the owner got a look at the bill to date.

At nearly $100 an hour X at least two guys....

Is the Gremlin temp related? That's my first guess. My wonder... is there some bizarre ground common to all of the afflicted systems?

Could the trim simply be the diference in static loading and dynamic loading? I'll bet it wasn't both actuators causing the problem.

Sad part is, We may never know.

Just like the aircraft incidents you see on TV. Once the fire is put out the News Magazines loose interest.

To wit!

Two helicopters crashed in Hawaii a few weeks ago within a week of eachother. Two different tour companies on the same island. Heard anything since?

The Channel 5 news rag is teasing tonight with a video of a helicopter that crashed on an unsuspecting pedestrian.

OK, I am backing away from the void that is journalism in America today...

I spent most of the day crammed into the Hell Hole of a 350 Model wrangling a cantancerous oxygen bottle that leaked straight out of overhaul.

Only thing of interest to most of my readers (maybe). I believe I found that nerve in the neck that Mr Spock used to use.

I had to twist around a horizontal support that has been added for all of the crap they have begun installing back there. Standing tip toe on a ladder. One arm through this way the other over 'there'. Tilting my head hard to the left was the only way to get a glimpse of the clamp on the left side of the bottle.

All of a sudden I get LIGHT headed and things start to spin and get dark(er).

I stood up as straight as room would allow. Flattened my feet out as best I could and tried to shake it off. I didn't put two and two together until...

Later I had to go back to that side to safety wire the clamp...

Uh-Oh... here we go again.

Now, if I can just perfect the technique!!!

On the Fun Front. Well fun for me anyway.

I've been a writing fool the last couple of days. It's still in the "mix the Jello phase" at this point. It is a viable story line based on a lot of things but inspired by a seed sent out by the Architect quite sometime ago.

The Architect has been getting updates of it. Drafts of ideas for drafts. Once I get to the passages I hope to be bold enough to post them here.

We've also been working on another idea. Depending on how much content we add, it could be a fairly small project, it could be going this Summer.

Sorry for the cryptic nature of that but think-
"Jello" = A family story.
Summer Project = Poetry

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I wish I had written about this when I first got the notion. Some of the details were flaky to begin with and now they are fuzzy.

We have and old C90 King Air in the shop at the moment. It was supposed to be gone already but the Gremlins attacked. Actually, some of them have been lurking around for a while.

Last week I heard they (I am not directly involved now) were having trouble with elevator trim. Works on the ground but it hangs up in flight.

I had been involved early on and knew that the trim cables, tensions etc were good from the aft pressure bulkhead to the end of the line. Forward of the bulkhead, I didn't see or do much with it.

This week I wondered if the grease in the actuators had turned to soup. (It's scary to see how much water and watery grease with come out of a prop cuff when you purge it.) Maybe that was freezing in flight.

The guys have been from one end to the other. All of the routing is right. Pulleys are free and no flat spots. they disconnected things and worked the system by hand in attempts to narrow it down.

They really haven't found anything of substance. They said the trim wheel is a little stiffer as you roll it through Zero my it's only noticable if you turn it really slow.

As if that wasn't odd, the real weird stuff begins at 7000 feet.

As you reach 7000 ft-
Intermittant static in the headset
L/H fuel quantity needle starts to swing
Prop Sync fails
R/H fuel Qty will sometimes fail
And, some other unrelated system fails (I don't recall which)

This bug has been a problem for a while apparenty.

The owner has had the fuel quantity system investigated from wing tip to gages to wing tip with no results. Other troubleshooting has been done as well. (All of this work performed elsewhere I think.)

They have done test flights. Shutting down one generator then the other. Pulled circuit breakers one at a time. (Every circuit breaker in the panel.)

Oh, it doesn't show up if you pressurize the plane in the hangar either, of course.

Hey, I guess that's one reason to look forward to going back to work tomorrow!

I realize that I lost 95% of you at, "old C90..." but wanted to throw this head scratcher out there for the other 5%.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Ol' Homestead in Springtime

Maybe should have done this one as a Medium sized picture. It did look pretty good in the HP Program. Guess I'll have to ''Publish" and see how it looks after a double click.
Spring Sho-Nuff hath sprung. 80 some degrees, 90 some humidity and the WIND out of the South.
I had the windows open all day but they all (3!) face the West. I've been really big on the box fan. I use it as an exhaust in the kitchen window and it pulls a pretty good breeze. As the year warms up I've added a twist that would have ''Gran'dad'' spinning in his grave... Both usable windows open, box fan in kitchen and the A/C on!!! Once the sun goes down it only takes an hour or so to bring the place to a tolerable temp and the A/C goes O-F-F! As the evening wears into night the box fan gets notched down until it is off.
(Side note to Brothers... Sometimes I leave the house with all the lights on and the TV going... Just because I can!)
The A/C is a 220v window right over the couch. It refuses to cycle! The compressor will stop but the fan blows continuously. It makes it unpleasant to sit there and read or watch a movie.
OH! Those of you counting windows in the photo and thinking, "There are more than three visible and there must be more." That's NOT where we live.... Yet.

I'm Catching on, I think!

In another post I mentioned enjoying the exhaust stack polishing. Reason(s) being-
I had never done it
It beat stinking
It beat getting nasty
#1 reason: I could see results!!!
Above is the before and below is the after... You be the Judge!

Monday, March 26, 2007

The photo experiment worked...

but wasn't a complete success. It will get better.

The weather had a tuff time making up it's mind today. When it finally did, it really did. We had about two hours of that great Texas lightning and rolling thunder. Gotta love it.

I left the little camera at work in my haste to leave on Sunday. The Blue Bonnets and all of the other wild flowers are blooming. The light may not be great but the colors of the flowers really stand out against the gray skies. I think I'll get a disposable camera and have it transferred to disc so I can post a few pic's. I took a few with the phone but they don't do me any good here.

Maybe... Echo November's Mom will get a few shots with her new camera........???

The front 'yard' at the Homestead looks great. Full of flowers.

It's been a rainy day kinda day.

I have the third canvas in a series of four on the coffee table. If it dries before I get tired I'll hit it a little more.

I nosed around my "Writings" folder. Re-read a lot of entries. Edited a couple. Some of them still 'sound' good. Some of them, 'What was I thinking?'. I guess that's why you write everyday. Ya gotta break a lotta rocks to find a diamond.

Except for what you see here I haven't done a lot of writing today. I have done a bit of texting and that's a great thing!

I picked at the guitar for an hour or so. It sounds about as good as my singing! OK, worse.

Cooked and ate an ENTIRE pizza. Just a note here, the H.E.B. brand pizza crust is no Boboli pizza crust. I wont make that mistake again. The sauce that came with it didn't measure up either.

Picked up the April "Texas Monthly". Funny thing, there is an Editorial about Gov Rick Perry's power grabbing and an interview with a rock star touting Perry in the same issue. I haven't made it to the articles about the Texas Rangers evolutions in law enforcement or the "Banditos" motorcycle club.

Ya know, the two tonics might sound contradictory but I think I'll pour me some of that good Tequila and put on that Stravinsky after all. Just kick back and let the old mind wander.

I'm going to figure this out!!! (Photos)

To the left is the coolest buffalo metal sculpture!
Hard to tell but it is life size. It's stationed in Medicine Park, OK

This a Bev-Nap Classic from the pen of the Architect.

I think I've got the photo thing figured out. For now. We'll see when the next time comes. Will I remember?

Cuddly Fuzzies!!!

Redd and Ginger
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Holding off on going out in the rain. I found this as I was going through pictures. I was never a fan of little dogs but I have been enlightened. These two are the greatest!!! The best mannered, no yapping, cuddly and loving duo I've ever been around!


I found it!!!

No music, at the moment. Going to call my 8, almost 9 year old in a few. I'm actually thinking Classical as opposed to Classic tonight.No lyrics ya see.

Speaking of which. Did I make it through that entire rave last night without referencing Zevon? Amazing.

Much better state of mind tonight. It Is Friday after all.

I took off a little early from work. I took a different route, previously unexplored route home. Took longer but it was a nice drive through the country.

I saw a 1965 Chevy Fleetside Pick-up with the small back window for sale in the proverbial field. May have to check that out.

It's white... I can see it in Pearl White... '69 Corvette Rally rims, 15" black with brushed rings and hub caps... Smoked windows... Subtle interior in Crimson and Cream... Small block crate motor... Automatic transmission with the shifter on the column so as to not obstruct the bench seat... Upgraded steering, suspension and brakes... "All up front and shining (smilin') man AAAWWwwww Beautiful." Dr Hook. Sorry I can't help myself.

To heck with it. It's a good segue'. I've been wanting to write in response to a comment. (Yeah! I do get them from time to time, and of course, eat it up!)

Like "Werewolves of London", "Cover of the Rolling Stone" is a fun little song. They are overworked by radio stations and neither is the artists best work.

As for Dr Hook, I might just have to go with "Carry Me Carrie". Great imagery.

You saw it coming... Classical music just went out the window.

"Freakin' at the Freakers Ball" from the album, Sloppy Seconds! Immense departure from Stravinsky.

I did think of something that helps me get back to the comment from BB, Why does music play such a big part in our lives?

The cliche' is, "It's the soundtrack to our lives".

Music is like a long forgotten smell or thought or reflection in a window...
SNAP! No matter where your are or what you are doing or thinking you ARE THERE, You're back at a precise moment in time.

The destinations are indiscriminant. You could be back at a grave site or standing in Austin Bergstrom airport. A valley or a peak.

Some music is always very specific. From the first time you hear that opening chord to the last time you hear it, you always know where 'you're going' when you listen to it.

For me, a tame example is Bob Seger "Turn the Page". The first time I heard it done live. It was a bar band at a wild bar in Faxon, OK. I heard Bob do it at Reunion Arena in Dallas a few years later but the song always carrys me to Faxon.

A funny one just hit me. More of an artist/ CD than specific song. Joe Ely "Live at the Liberty Lunch". A musty litte hotel. In a little town that I couldn't pronounce the name of then and I don't recall now. Korea. Winter. Bitter cold. Snow. My Wing Man Bhudda and I had taken rooms there to be closer to work and not risk the drive in the snow and ice.

I had a few CD's and Bhuddas harmonicas. One morning on the way downstairs for work, "Heard you on the harp man. Sounded pretty good."
"Your singing sucks."
You didn't expect Bhudda to mince words did ya?

OH! Ted Nugent "Stranglehold". Always always always back to Sicily. Screamin' ass up Mt Etna in a gray Seat (pronounced, Say-Aht) station wagon at night.

I've got the giggles. I have no earthly idea what Ozzy and I were listening to on the way back from Gibraltor... The sound is overshadowed by many things... Guardia Seville, AK-47s...

Mr Barbanes, in an attempt to answer your question I have to say that for those of us that are tuned to it-
Music is a part US and therefore part of our lives
It was THERE when we were THERE
Rythms and chanting are as old as Man Himself
There is a whole spritual aspect to it
There is something primal when we let ourselves join in and really belt out a song
(Ever had both feet firmly on the pedals canceling each other out, the collective and cyclic clinched like clubs and really let yourself go?)
There are rythms built into us. Breathing, heart beat and blinking even
Ocassionaly music becomes a quest. A hunt. You've done it. Tracked down a particular track. (Ever tracked down more work from a particular artist because of something you heard? Tracked down and captured a different version of the same song?)
Ever used lyrical references in conversation where others might use literary references?

I'm going to hold short from here. I'm making up/ figuring out this stuff on the fly anyway!

It was bound to happen.

Last night it finally did.

I should first apologize for some of the language in Saturday Night's Thermo-Nuclear Device.

Last night I did a totally different kind of post. Up beat. Positive. Addressed a question that was posed in a comment. I solved the great riddle of Man and Music.

It was a good time. Right up until the computer hiccuped. Even though I saw it coming and saved the post to a word file, I still lost it.

It's raining here. OK, to some of you it's more like misting than real rain but we do have flood watches and warnings. I have errands etc but will be back later on today.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"Watch Out! You Might Get What You're After..

... Here's your ticket pack your bags... The destination is clear... Fight fire with fire... "
Talking Heads "Burning Down the House"

All systems set to fire at will. Headphone night. Volume, 40!!!

Next up, "Life During Wartime"
"... The sound of gunfire, off in the distance, I'm getting used to it now. No time for dancin' or lovey dovey. I aint go time for that now."

Can't find Jethro Tull... There are a couple of songs I've wanted to hear all day. Can't think what they are now. But, I still want to hear them.

JACK POT!!! Four Tull discs. Still can't remember one of the songs but, "Broadsword" is one of them...

"I see a dark stain,
on the horizon...
Bring me my Broadsword
and a clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold
as a talisman..."

Tossed a little Uriah Heep in there too for "Stealin'"

It's a disc skipping to specific track kinda night.

"Heavy Horses move the land underneath..."
It's a Tull song about Clydesdale's actually.

I'm sick of being a stealthy Indian kinda pony.
My By-God call sign is "COMANCHE"!!!
The Comanche Nation Shield is friggin' tattooed on my shoulder!!!
It's time I acted like it.

It's time to break out of the reservation. AKA "Repair Stations".
It really is an appropriate analogy.

How do I...
It's like being a mechanic in a large dealership VS being a wrecker driver/ roving repairman.
In the dealership it's all politics and time. The more time you have there the better your connections thus the better jobs you get to do.

The less time and fewer connection you get days like this, "Well ya got three choices, you can work fuel tanks and stink like shit, you can do lubes and be nasty as shit, or you can polish exhaust stacks and ache like shit.

(Important Proviso here. Those were in fact my choices today. I enjoyed polishing stacks which I had not done before. There WEREN'T a lot of choices, if any, and my leadman did the fuel work. I not afraid of hard or nasty work.)

The wrecker driver arrives on the scene and never knows what he'll find. And he's gotta deal with it.

Repair Station VS Operations.

I spent 10 years as an operator. Field work son, field work. Lubes, fuel cells, engine changes and rigging and taxi and run-up, avionics and electrical (if I had to, I figured it out!) gear rigging, flight control, sheetmetal (minor), windshield changes, ...Damn it, I've done it.

The insidious thing about Repair Stations is if you aren't a Local Golden boy you don't get those jobs and your skills deteriorate. There's a LOT of stuff to be cognizant of and to remember. It's hard enough when you only do it occasionally. BUT, you are exercising the mind ALL of the time so it's a little easier to catch up.

When you don't do it for years... You're screwed.

Today, I remembered one particular day in Teguc. I had ALL FIVE U.S. Ambassadors to Central America on MY airplane.

Ever been on a first name basis with a United States Ambassador?

Ever been second in line off of the plane behind one. (When the freakin' upper aft wing bolt cover decided to stand up and salute during flight!?) He made one of those subtle but clear diplomatic gestures and said, "David." I said, "Sir." I made a new one and had it painted and installed before we left Soto Cano Airbase. He just grinned, diplomatically of course.

Ever been in the operational midst of an honest to God National Crisis (Hurricane Mitch), launching out the Ambassador and had him give you a message, hand you a number, "Call them at this number and tell them to go do this." "Yes Sir."

Ever flown a SAR?

Ever flown a SAR to Isle de Cisne not knowing if you were gonna bring home seven stranded sailors or seven, "On behalf of a grateful nation..."?

I am not bragging. Really. Just trying to make a point or two.

{"Gawd-amn it Daddy! You know I love you. But, You've got a helluva lot to learn about Rock and Roll!!!!!!!!!!..." Meatloaf}

I've got to get out of here. Out of the Repair Stations. Out of San Antonio for a while at least.

Out of the country. OCONUS. Back into the action.

YES! I still want to finish a degree.
YES! I want to write. Articles, Stories, Plays, Songs. OH hell yes songs!
YES! I want to get out of aviation.

BUT! For right this minute it's all I've got. Aviation. It's the only way I know to make a living.

I'm not living here. I'm not even really getting by. I force myself to get through one more day. To do things I have to to do to keep from going backwards. I will never get ahead here. Much less get out of the hole.

It's OCONUS or live outta the Dodge. I guess I have slept in that seat. It's not much different than the couch that I've been sleeping on but it's not really what I have in mind.

"I don't ask for much I only want trust but you know it don't come easy." Ringo Starr

Uriah Heep Live is up now. Not very deep on the song writing but it has a certain guttural connection. Gonna let it play.

I mentioned an admonition the other night. To learn to play guitar. Sometimes, admonitions are positive things. When BB and the Architect hit me with the same thing... Well, it's pretty clear.

In my defence, I have picked up the pen.

There have been others:
Write every day
Write what you know
Write for yourself
Write more

All good. Great even. They work!

I guess there is no real need to explain that I am in a melt down. Is there?

"Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar. Oh , don't ask why. Oh, don't ask why." No Whiskey tonight but tomorrow will damn sure be tequila. Forewarned!

Whoa!!! This Uriah Heep some sounds a lot like something the Talking Heads would do. And, I think, it predates the Heads. Hmmmm. WHAT a freakin' drum solo!!!!!!!! Oh yeah. This gets a repeat!!!!

"Pull Up! Pull Up! Terrain, Terrain, Terrain!!!!"

No, that's not Heep, or Elton, or Zevon. It's the little voice in a pilots ear. I have seen the altimeter spin counter clockwise. I didn't like it then. I don't like it now. At about age seven I nosed a Cessna 172 over.

Damn! I like that solo... I don't know where it will rank in the annals of rock history but it's working at the moment!

I'm going to send an email to my Brotha by anotha Motha... The Plumber. He plays guitar and drums. Haven't heard the drums. BUT, he plays, I write...

Master Sargent! Pucker up and drag out the Trumpet.
Architect! Prepare to sing achapela (crap, spell check didn't fix that.) at Casbeers.

L.O. freakin'L!!!!!!!!!!! For those not used to shorthand. Laughing Out Freaking Loud!!! This apartment has a problem. The front door will SEEM to latch but if either of the other doors (the neighbors or the exterior door open it will sometimes pull my door open). I thought it was latched!!! I will spare you my state of dress but had my neighbors been in the foryer, it would have been an awkward moment!!!

We seem to have come about in a full circle. We are back to catharsis. I was in a pretty good mood when I left work. I spanner was thrown into the works. I went downhill pretty readily and spell check seems to have failed too.

I don't care.

I'm only going to get about four hours of sleep.

I don't care.

I've been a passenger on the Bi-Polar Express for some time now and I just took a header offa the train, rolled down the burm, checked my package, it's mostly intact.

What am I gonna do? AC/DC... Architect, sing it with me... (Great thing about it. He already knows what line is next!!!)

I'm gonna
Ride On
Ride On
Ride on

Thank you for bearing with me tonight!!!
"Goodnight Everybody! Thanks for coming out!!! Be sure to pick up the new album!"

How great is this? "Stealin'" just hit the top...

"Take me across the water
cause I need someplace to hide
I done the ranchers daughter
and I sure did hurt his pride

there's a hundred miles of desert lies
between his hide and mine
I don't need no food
or no water lord cause
I'm running out of time

Fighting, Killing
Wine and women
gonna put me to
an early grave

Running, hiding
loosing crying
With nothing
left to save

I stood on a ridge and
shunned religion
the world was mine

Stealin when I should ahve been buying...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tuesday (in my world)

Ya see, I play this little mental game with the hours I'm on the clock. I am ON for 37.5 hours per week. I don't count drive times. So, based on a five day work week, every 7.5 hours on the clock equals One Day. By the time I get off on the first day, I'm actually already five hours into the next day.

I've always had a thing for numbers. No, I am no math whiz. I just like to play with them.

It started a long time ago. One good example comes from the years spent working in a dry cleaners. The numeric tags they put on clothes. Ours were 5 digits.

Some numbers could 'take me places'. 2409, 1917, 156, 175 and many many others represent different destinations.

Another thing I do with numbers is play 21. Not just adding them up. I work all kinds of little functions to end up at 21. Somewhere in my head is a scoring system. I can't yet get it on paper but the number of digits and the functions used are all worth points.

3 and 7 wouldn't be worth much but say...

0- 1- 2- 9- 7 would be more. More cards and more functions.

1-0=1, 1+2=3, 9/3=3, 3x7= 21

Rereading and spell checking as I usually do, I realize that I really should eat something! Kinda nonsensical here.

Hey, let's call it whimsical!

Gonna load up the CD and Nuke something!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mixed Musical Messages...

I was called an "Excitable Boy" today!!! I was also admonished again to pick up a guitar...
"Und I deeeeed..."
How's that for mixing it up, a little line from "Rocky Horror". Now that I think about it, Eddy was an Excitable Boy too!!!

Bob, I got me a little Cessna 150 of guitars

I should be cleaning house. The Folks are coming for dinner and tomorrow is Monday. I guess I better get to it but before I go I wanted to leave a short post. Both to thank Bob and to announce the house cleaning musical line up LOL!

On top, Warren Zevon "Mr Bad Example"
Robert Earl Keen "Gravitaional Forces"
Sir Elton "Madman" and Capt Fantastic"
Tom Petty Soundstage DVD disc two

And for this afternoons parting shot, a little something I scribbled on the six mile drive from "The Homestead" to our apartment...

"Raining Everyday"
Listening to 92.1 Americana music out of New Braunfels, TX

They say tomorrow
the sun is gonna shine
But it's rai--ning
aga-in today
And I'm beginning to believe
that its gonna rain everyday
for the rest of my life

No sunshine to warm my day
No moonlight to guide my way

They say tomorrow
the sun is gonna shine
But it's rai--ning
aga-in today
And I'm beginning to believe
that its gonna rain everyday
for the rest of my life

No sunshine for the bluebonnet bloom
No moonlight for making love

They say tomorrow
the sun is gonna shine
But it's rai--ning
aga-in today
And I'm beginning to believe
that its gonna rain everyday
for the rest of my life

No sunshine for the children to play
No moonlight for Baby's sweet dreams

They say tomorrow
the sun is gonna shine
But it's rai--ning
aga-in today
And I'm beginning to believe
that its gonna rain everyday
for the rest of my life

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Just Old David's Way...

... of sending out a smiley face to ya!
There is a VERY Funky, VERY Texi-cana, uhmmm... Establishment around the corner from our apartment. It appears to have been some sort of tourist attraction once upon a time. Part flea market, part junk shop and part antique store. But ALL old pack rats dream! Once we get the good cameras back here I'll have to go chat with the old Fella and take some pic's.
I did get the entire run down on the old hand water pump he just painted with Ford High Heat engine paint, NAPA brand, He's paid $6++ dollars for it elsewhere but he found 6 cans of it for $1.35 and bought them all and yes it was dry and yes it's really going to stay that glossy cause he doesn't believe the old pump will get that hot and come by anytime, they live there and if they aren't outside just make some racket and park any where, on the grass is better cause the more it gets driven on the less he has to mow.
(There is a very good Tamale Shop out back that's open on the weekends.)
Anyway, on the way to town this morning this Rooster caught my eye. Sure enough, it was still there when I got back. Now he's roosting on the fridge. All 22" of him!!!
That's Nada to Crow About!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Digging Deep...

Elton John, "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy"

Lest ye discount Ol' Reg as some sort of oddball... Listen and pay attention to some of the really old stuff. Some of it actually has a sort of Country Music tinge to it. "Rotten Peaches" "Indian sunset"

"Capt Fantastic" and "Madman Across the Water" are two wonderful albums.

Full of detail. Rich in imagery. Both lyrically and musically.

LOL! I don't know how much writing I'll get done. I keep drifting into the music! And that's OK too. Music to me is like a safe harbor at times. Protected, known and comfortable.

Excuse me, I'll just bang my head against the wall for a sec... I'll be right back... Why oh why did I never learn to play piano? The intro to "Bitter Fingers" and the lyric....
"It's hard to write a song with bitter fingers... so much to prove and so few to tell you why..."

"Like a corn blue flame..."
It's an image but its deeper than say, "like a hot blue flame". OK I dumbed that down a bit. I think I could do better than a 'hot blue flame' but could I top a "corn blue flame"?

It's all in the nuances. A different creative approach.

(Drifting, Sorry,
"Tell Me When the Whistle Blows"
... me I'm young and I'm so wise... there's taxi cabs a hootin' but I can't be footloose forever... my suitcase it's a cheap one but my darling she's a dear one... just a black sheep going home...)

(Laughing Hysterically, sort of,
"...are you concerned, he said Nein...")
OK I don't speak Deutsch so I can't spell ''NO" but what a touch!?

Some of you know how Warren Zevon touches my thinking. Roll it back thirty years and Elton John was The Man. (No snide comments please. ;-) I know he hasn't done much but Pop songs and pimp himself as an aging artist lately but even "Reg Strikes Back" had a nugget or two. I guess that was a while back too.

There are even some truths in some songs. Sir Elton's works and many many others.

I.E. "Meal Ticket" Way back when. When I first heard the song, a meal ticket to me was the thing your Mom gave you money for every Monday morning and you were to pay the lunch lady for a punch card so you could eat lunch for the week.

('...the flickering neon stands ready to fuse...
' How great is that?
'... if you ask how I am then I'll just say 'inspired'...'
Sorry, Pardon me but that ain't standard Pop.)

Now, I realize that the meal ticket could be a license, a degree, a skill or talent. But it must be properly cultivated and applied.

Here is a perfectly appropriate line for all of us,

"... will the lines we wrote today, sound as good tomorrow... will we still be writing in approaching years... we can stretch our legs if we have a mind but don't disturb us if you hear us trying to instigate the structure of another line or two..."

"We all fall in love sometimes... I used to know this old scarecrow... cast among the furoughs of a field no longer sown by anyone... I held a dandelion... I once wrote such childish words for you... but that's OK because there's treasure children always seem to find..."

The Little Fella just never quit... Or was it Bernie? Crud, yeah I should be crediting Bernie Taupin for the lyrical imagery. Hell of a Duo.

Here's a little funny for ya! Years ago I saw an Alice Cooper concert video. I kept looking at the guitar player... Eventually 'Alice' introduced the band. When he got around to the guitar player, the guitar player broke out with "Saturday Nights Alright". Confirmation! Davey Johnstone!
'Alice', "Hey, hey hey cut that #%&* out! I pay you more that he does!!!"

Here's some Blogger Trivia for ya. I saw E.J. on my Birthday TWICE! "84 and '86 I think. One time with the original band and the other with the band and an orchestra. Can you see the tears running down an overwhelmed little Bloggers face. Happy Freakin' Amazing Birthday to Me!

I just hit the replay button. I'll spare ya the redeux!

From the 'Tower of Babel', that's some real nada!
Have a ball ya'll!!!!

(From the Editors Desk. Blogger Spell Check didn't like several words here and a couple it had no good suggestions for. One was funny to me. It doesn't like "Zevon" but it offers "Levon" as an alternative! Get it?)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Back up and running...

Up anyway.

Sort of fell on my face Sunday. Blame it on the time change, right?

Sort of had a melt down Monday.

For one thing, the storm. I guess it did help me sleep sorta. Except for this inexplicable noise coming from the window air conditioner. (NO, it wasn't on, but more on that...) Sounded as if it was swaying in the wind and it's right above my head where I sleep.

I was up early, went to hit the O-N button for the computer but it was already O-N. I would swear I shut it down on my way down the night before. Hit the button for the monitor and nothing happened.

I kept fooling around with it but 'no joy'.

The windows were open and the thermometer said 72.5 degrees. I still felt cold! Humidity? Three weeks or so ago I had the heat on and was toasty at 72.5. Human body and mind are weird things.

So, off to Pat's Diner for breakfast. Earlier than usual. I think I got there by 0700.

Stopped by 'The Homestead' and swiped a monitor from the folks. Just for troubleshooting purposes of course! Luckily, it was just the monitor. Now, with this 17" behemoth, it's like being in the front row at the drive in. (Anybody remember those?)

Before I go off on my little storm related- driving in foreign lands ramble here, I want to mention a couple of commenter's. JL and JSB. People I don't remotely know. Kinda cool! I'll check later to see how they wound up here. I also see that I have a hit from Beijing!

JSB said nice things and JL had a tip about Tree Top Flyer and Jimmy Buffet.

I've had great comments and advice from LG and BB. So far Ozzy has chimed in once.

I was thinking 'bout ya this morning Oz! Went to a cool store for University Sportswear and what not. Neither Pop nor I had ever been there. I picked up a Tee Shirt in your honor,
Thought you'd get a kick out of it.
While I'm on my obnoxious T's. Got one inspired by the Architect too,
"It's all fun and games 'til someone gets hurt. Then it's hilarious!"
"REHAB is for quitters." Well, that one is for me.

OK, where was I before the side trip. TRIP! That was it. Road Trips in Foreign Lands...

The rain and subsequent flash floods and stoopit people inspired me to go ahead and tell this one. (Did I say 'stoopit people'? That one is fixin' to come back and bite me.)

Here in South Central Texas when we do get a lot of rain all at once it goes running everywhere. Low water crossings are a bane. For the last two days there has been a steady stream (yeah, cheap shot) of people driving off into these things and getting stuck and or swept away. Happens every time. Every time I say something brilliant like, "Well ya dumbass!"

Now that I've made my opinion of this behavior clear, let's flip ye ol' hour glass and let the sands of time take us back to about 1996...

Honduras. On my first day or two "In Country" I met ED. Another one of those friends of the company so to speak. He was like the rest, purported to be related somehow or another to one of the girls that one of my predecessors had married.

ED was a hustler and a huckster and at times a shady entrepreneur. But he could be fun to hang out with.

Right away he started inviting me to his Uncle's place in the mountains. This went on for weeks if not months. It just never came together.

Keep in mind I spoke NO Spanish upon my arrival. I had not deciphered the driving directions one gets from locals. I WAS the company in Honduras. No boss on site or even on the continent. No coworkers. My pilots were all military and had all of the obligations that go with that. I had to figure things out for myself. I was my own.

ED helped me buy a 1984 Toyota 4X4. I paid way more than I would have in the States. She was good and true though and served me well until I left country three or so years later.

The invites kept coming. Finally we decided to go the next day come hell or high water. I awoke on the appointed day to a light misty sprinkle.

ED Called, "DahBeed, It's raining."

"I know. It's just a sprinkle. We're going."


I don't recall if ED came to the house or I went to pick him up but either way, it was only the beginning.

First, we had to drive around and track down a Cousin that was to go with us. Then, drive all over Tegucigalpa to secure a grill, meat, beer, ice, gas, and whothehell remembers what all.

At last! We're all three in the truck and headed towards Danli.

Was it to be a 'non-stop hop'? Of course not. At some point Edwin shouts, "Turn here!" He had to stop to see a girlfriend. Ol' Cuz and I are cooling our heels in the truck. I speak little or no Spanish and Cuz speaks no English and we really wouldn't have had much to say anyway.

ED gets back in the truck.

I ask, "How much farther?

"Adalante, adalante!" (Keep going.)

Have I mentioned the misty rain lately? It's a little more insistent now. I'm using the wipers more and more.

I'm also getting more and more frustrated about the amount of time it's taking to get to where we are and the non-answer to my constant question, "How much farther?"

Eventually, the increasing precipitation is a concern. I mention it, "Si, DahBeed! Huricano Hugo is in the Atlantic! I told you it was raining!" Shit, you never mentioned Hurricane!
(Note: I don't recall for certain the name of the hurricane. If Hugo was Pre or Post '96, don't hammer me.)

At last, "Turn Here!"

I'm standing on the brakes again, as usual but now I'm asking, "TURN WHERE?" as we slide to a stop.

OK, there was a dirt road. We begin to make our way up the mountain. I'm grateful for 4 wheel drive but marveling at the skinny little tire tracks that we are following.

We come to a low water crossing. (The technical term here I believe is "Foreshadowing".)

I got out to 'Assess the situation'. No big deal. But I locked the hubs and engaged the 4 wheel drive anyway. We crossed with the water not even as high as the wheel hubs. Who knows what might be up ahead right? We continued to lumber up the mountain.

By now I was already tired and frustrated. ED asked how I liked the mountains and if I'd like to buy some land there. I thought of the aggravation required to get to this point and we still weren't there yet. I replied, "No."

Tio's House! At last we where "Here". No one had a clue we were coming. We did all of the meet and greet. The family was terrific.

It finally began to get fun and funny too!

The men and boys realized that we were headed out for some sort of excursion to grill out and drink beer.

The truck was unloaded and a horse was saddled. Turns out that "Here" wasn't "There".

The rain was still coming through in bands. No sun in between the bands but it wasn't unpleasant.

I picked up a box of supplies and was preparing to continue on to wherever "There" was. At least I didn't have to drive!

No, no, no... The horse was for me!!!

I felt like a heel and a hero all at the same time. I felt like a character out of some African Safari movie. These guys are carrying a grill, a couple of coolers, more ice from somewhere, charcoal, boxes of food and I'm mounted on a horse with a kid to guide the horse!!!

After about another half an hour trek. We were "There".

It was an OhMyGod beautiful spot. On the side of the mountain. Of course among many mountains. Looking down into a valley. Woods and brush and lush and green. Even in the subdued light of that day it was picture perfect.

Looking down into the valley watching a hawk soar and hunt. He was high above the valley floor and we were high above him.

The only signs of humanity was a sliver of power line in the distance, a bit of dirt road on another mountain and a small house and some sort of cultivation on the valley floor.

We ate, we drank, we laughed and we watched the rain come through in bands.

We made a game of the rain. I timed the bands. Had them nailed pretty damn close too. To the second several times.

I don't remember who made the call but it was time to go. We trek back to the house and begin to say our thanks and our goodbyes.

Ol' Cousin disappears. He gets tracked down, corralled and put into the truck.

We head back down the mountain.

In the meantime the rain is building.

As we approached the low water crossing we see people gathered on each side of the ...


On each side of the torrent!!!

I didn't have to get out to assess the situation. It was clearly B-A-D!

"What are ya gonna do ya Dumbass?"

Someone had thoughtfully placed BIG boulders on the downstream side. The situation was only going to go from B-A-D to W-O-R-S-E. I had a mission to launch the next morning and no way to contact pilots.

I double checked the hubs. left my seat belt off, put her in 4LO, jammed her into first and said, "Hang on."

I slipped the clutch just enough to get us rolling and keep us rolling. I stayed way deep in the throttle to keep the RPMs up. And we waded in. The truck had 31" tires on 'er and the water was up to the window sills. She plowed right along.

We bobbed out the other side to applause! I looked back and the tailgate was loaded with people! Probably helped us all as much or more than it helped the stow-aways.

I don't remember a thing about the rest of the trip home. But, We did indeed make it home.

Well, there's a Lotta Nada through memory lane! I remembered another couple of Tegucigalpa Tales along the way.

I've got to at least publish this and it would be best to shut it down. Steady rain an ocassional lightning.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


So, buckle up boys n girls!

First off. The Eyes Upon Ya at the top of the page are of my Son. The photo was taken in Georgia and He was born in Honduras. But, like his Daddy... He's in Texas!!! I told ya, the damn thing is one big magnet! (Tejas, that is.)

I managed to reset my schedule rather effortlessly this morning. I managed to get off of work at Noon. It was drizzly, then raining. I blew off a couple of plan/ ideas for the afternoon and came home. All was well. NASCAR race was coming on. I was home early with no plans...

"... I shoulda known right away that something was wrong when I started thinking things were alright..." Todd Snider

I could not get into my email!!! Eventually I did but it took hours and was infuriating! Yahoo showed me as logged on but I kept getting "Page Unavailable" when I hit the mail. I could get in from my phone but that's not the point.

Got in eventually.

I've been playing with the blog. Doodling. And, Thinking.

Right away, I hear some of you, "Uh-Oh! He's thinking again."

Hey, I told ya to buckle up!

(Note: ... I've been away for a little while. Trying to take care of other stuff.)

Just thought I'd let ya know that there is a thunder storm crackling and rumbling this way. It's not raining here at the moment... and it's perfectly still outside.


ONE OF MY... Sorry, Caps Lock... I'm not shouting.

One of my fave flicks is "Highlander" {Yes, Ozzy, I know it doesn't happen that way... but, what if it did...} Here comes the rain. Moving in fast. Came in a little quick for me. I wanted to go out and enjoy the show!

This may not sound like it but it is a pretty deeeeeeeep insight into DRS.

The Four of us boys went camping with Daddy. I was less than eleven years old. You subtract 2 years to get each on my little Brothers ages. We were set up Boy Scout Style in two old U.S. Army pup tents. Trenched in and all. Sure as shit. Came a storm.

A good one too! I was bed down in one tent with "The Master SGT". "The Architect" and "The Preacher" were in the other with Daddy.

Storm blew in. Sometime after dark. "The Architect" woke up.

Daddy was having a smoke. Lit from the old Zippo, "It's rainin' Daddy."


Future "Architect" went back to sleep.

Me? I slept through the whole thing.

That was the last outing for the Old Man that died at 34 years old. The last outing for the Five of us.

I LOVE A STORM! I love to stare into and ponder a campfire. Much Like Daddy used to.

Me, I watch the flames and coals for patterns, inspiration and rhythms.

He appreciated each flicker for he knew it would be his last.

Thunder has stopped. A light steady rain now. We need it.

I'm going back to work on other stuff....

I found it. Stephen Stills. "Tree Top Flyer". Not certain yet. I don't think it is as old a song as I thought. (sorry, only one person will have any idea what I'm talking about. I'll elaborate later.)

Remember the old phrase for Daylight Savings Time, "Spring Forward, Fall Back."? How 'bout this twist? 'Spring up, Fall down?'

That's all the Nada I got for tonight!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gonna be a LONG, SHORT Night!

Somehow, I've gotta come down from today's work an a hour or more faster than usual... Any suggestions? WITHOUT having a raging hang-over?!

It's all worth it. I love Daylight Savings Time.

Another pretty OK day at work.

Got to do some flight control rigging on an old 90 Model King Air. And, worked a problem with the Left Hand engine power lever. Never seen this before. A binding inside the wire rope.

(I LOVE 'highlight, delete'.)

Anyway. This "Wire Rope" is part of the Monkey Motion that makes the airplane go into reverse. It's used for braking upon landing or taxiing. I don't recall seeing one go bad or encountering the symptom that led me to find it. Had a little fun and frustration tracking it down.

I guess it's akin to something Doctors must see a lot of.

One symptom might make you think of one cure. But the same symptom accompanied by one or more others might lead you astray.

Last night while reading LG's blog I remembered a couple of good "Driving In Honduras" stories. Particularly, going on a mountain adventure in the throes of a hurricane. Driving while getting directions from local residents. And, of course, the "I spent the night in jail for drinking and driving a car that I wasn't even in!" story.

Today on the way home I thought of a couple of more "Driving In New Places" stories. One or I guess both were due to road construction.

I had a shot at getting off of the highway just before traffic was choked down to two lanes from four but I had no clue how to improve my situation if I DID get off of the highway. Learning to drive in Oklahoma, it is all laid out like a checkerboard. North- South streets, East- West streets.

Another was a broken rear view mirror laying on the side of my lane. I hadn't thought about the "Triple" and even "QUADRUPLE" passes in Sicily for a long time.

See, it was not unusual to pull out to pass the car ahead of you only to have the guy behind you pull out to pass BOTH cars. Having the guy BEHIND him pull out to pass as well happened often too. Add to that, the oncoming car would tend to stand his ground. It was "Chicken" at 70mph. Thwacking mirrors with the oncoming car was frequent. (Keep in mind, often we WERE the oncoming car.)

I've got a theme going here...

The incredible traffic in Korea.

Driving on the left in Kenya. :-) I was dubbed Mad Max on that trip!

Getting lost in Spain while trying to find Gibraltar. Even after we found the damn thing, we still couldn't get to it! UUUeeeewww, The Drive back to the hotel from Gibraltar... Did you know, those crazy Spaniards have beer machines at the gas station?! Yeah! Just like a Coke machine only better!

Crazy traffic in Greece. (My very first foray out of the States.) WOW, the Russian on the plane ride back to the States. Hadn't thought about that in years. The drive from Athens to Poseidon's Temple in Sounio. I was spell bound.

Are ya'll OK with being sounding boards?!?! I sure hope so. THANK YOU! I've got a string here to maybe go a little Gonzo with.

Time to get the clocks changed and all of my ducks in order for tomorrow.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Friday Night, turn out the lights!

Not a bad day work wise. Stayed busy without having to WORK at staying busy. Nice change.

The Front Office Clowns have issued an edict, "Ya caint clock in til ya gotta a card ta put yer tyme on." (Boy, spell check didn't like THAT line!)

Neither do WE!

This is a little bit of a whine but it's true.

My alarms start going off at 0340. That's 3:40 a.m. I am a snooze slapping S.O.B.

I am not one of those people that can hear an alarm, jump up and immediately begin jumping through the hoops.

I have at least one Brother that can, the "Master SGT". At the last second his alarm goes off, he hits the shower, gets dressed, gets in the truck and drives like crazy to get to work.

Uh-UH! Not me. I need a little warning. I want my coffee. I need my news and weather. I take about an hour just to get ready to shower and jump in the truck. Even then, I leave myself about :20 extra for traffic or truck trouble.

Saying ALL of that to say... I don't get up at 0400 to get to the hangar and NOT be allowed to clock in!

(Info Note: We work three 12 hour days and get paid for 40 hours. IF we miss ONE SINGLE MINUTE, we loose :01 minute AND four hours of shift differential.)

Nothing at all against my Crew Lead, this facility is very different than others I have worked in. Different even from others in the same Company. But, I have run this weekend shift as a Lead.

I was the first member of the crew to arrive. Often the first person to arrive. Friday morning, with note pad in hand, I would quiz each of the Day Shift Leads as they arrived, "Whatchya got?" (Of course they all said something like, "You guys GOTTA take care of My Problem this weekend!")

By the end of that process the Scheduler would arrive. Then I got the priorities. If my guys arrived before the Scheduler. I had somewhere to send them. I may have to redirect them once I knew the true priorities but I had a plan. A plan based in large part on the delivery schedule.

It doesn't work that way here. I almost never have a legitimate card to clock in on at 0550 in the morning.

That's a Lotta Rant...

On to better things!

Benny is BACK!

Benny is one of our Facility Maintenance guys. He transfered here about the same time I got here. He came down from New Jersey after that shop closed. He is of Puerto Rican descent and his accent is thick. We communicate better in Spanish.

I knew he had been ill pretty constantly. Then one day, "Hey, where the heck is Benny?!" This was about eight weeks ago. His illness, unbeknownest to him, was due to a chunk of intestine being "Muerto", Dead!

He told me today that he got up for work that day (he works evenings) got ready for work and the pain hit. He apparently called 911 for an amubulance. Doctor told him twenty minutes later he'd would have been dead.

In Fact, at some point he did die! Had to hit him repeatedly with the paddles!!!

They put him out for surgery, ten hours worth. He woke two days later and his first words were, "Where's my food?"

Really glad to see Benny back at work. Not only is he a great guy but I lost a dear, dear Friend, Old Bill, to an exploding pancreas. I know that I have mentioned him.

LOL! First thing! When I saw Benny today he was with another guy from Facilities. Benny and I go to yakkin' in Espanol and the other guy had that great bewildered look!

Finally he interjects, "Yo no se que usted se habla?!"

"Claro que si!"

Still laughing. I just remembered the look on Benny's face, "How the hell did you NOT know?"

Anyway. Today I got a Friend home from the grave and made a new one too.

THAT Friend n Neighbors is a bit of Smiling Nada.

I may or may not go on for a little while tonight. I read Gringa's blog when I got home and she inspired a couple of war stories. It was also reassuring to hear how long it takes her to up load her posts. I was afraid it was just my old rig here!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

OK. One is about all I have patience for tonight. (Incredibly slow to up load photos.)

Spent the day on the "Homestead". Helping get it in shape.
"Spent the day." Didn't get nearly enough done.
My primary job is to climb the ladder with the chain saw and clear dead wood from on high. (After the "Roof Incident" "Pop" is prohibited from leaving terra firma.)
Damned chain saw was uncooperative!

I ain't no rocket surgeon but I know it takes air, fuel and a spark to start a fire. We confirmed them ALL. Had 'em all! Still wouldn't light off. Had compression too. (Thumb over the plug hole and pulled rope. It's working.)

I even went Macguyver! Swiped an emery board from "Mother". It wouldn't fit in the plug gap. So, I whipped the Kershaw blade out. Skinned the emery board. Had "Pop" hold the plug while I used the thin sandpaper to clean the plug. No Joy!
The saw is headed to the shop Monday. We'll hit it again a day or two next week.

What you see is the third or fourth load of dead fall headed to the burn pile.
Who knows when we'll actually get to burn it. It has been so dry. Even the cactus is turning yellow!!! Gringa has a 'crack me up' post about rain gages. 'Round these parts', we could use a thimble to gage the rain.

I guess I'll give another photo a shot here. Borrowed "Mothers" camera. (I really like it!) They take sooooooo long to load. We'll see.
OK. I see I must allocate a lot of time. Upload photos in reverse order. Then, add text.
Have a great weekend everybody. I may or may not post 'til Monday.
That's a Whole Lotta Sunburned Nada!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I don't get it.

I did everything the same way as before. It worked then! I hit the photo button. browse etc. It goes to upload and it's as if Blogger is downloading my hard drive! Little green lights blinking. Sent and Received numbers growing but NADA! Still connected. just no upload.

AAAaaaarrrrrggghhhh!!!!!! Reboot. Nope.

Oh well. I've got the old CD player. Yeah loaded and set to stun. Warren Zevon "Mr Bad Example" spinning. ''Renegade' playing.

"...I've been a rebel all my days... some prayers never reach the sky and some wars never end and some dreams refuse to die... I am a Renegade..."

Where do I go to nominate this guy for Sainthood? What a fantastic song writter? Get beyond what you know.

If you ever noticed him it was for "Werewolves of London", not a bad tune. You have heard "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" though not directly attributed to Zevon. Do you remember the Everly Brothers having a show? {I'll have to watch the DVD again to nail my Everly/ Musician ref's} Anyway, he was working. OH! I think it was Billy Joel!!! Billy Joel comes in and started to play. Zevon listened to him and WALKED OUT! Walked off of the job. He felt Joel was that much better. I ain't buying it. Nothing against Mr Joel.

Another fave on deck...

"...I'll keep searching for a heart. I'll keep searching everyone. They say love requires alittle standing in line. I've been waiting for you lover such a long long time... They say love conquers all. You can't start it like a car. You can't stop it with a gun..."

Not the most accurate but a quite sincere example. I didn't transcribe it well. "Searching For A Heart" WOW!


Track one: Poor Poor Pitiful Me. Zevon doing Zevon. WAY better than Rondstat!!!

"French Inhaler".

I, speaking only for myself of course, love writers that can make me laugh, tremble,cry and FEEL what they are standing in. 'Drag me in and scare the snot outta me!' Know what I mean?

Clancy does it with all fo the tech and detail. King does it with all of the gut.

During my stint on the road. From wence I get most of my B.S. war stories. I read all of the Clancy and King I could get my hands on.

"... walking through the streets of Soho in the rain..." It wasn't Soho but Picadilly. I got lost at 0200. It was Cinco de Mayo...

Stephen King. If you read "The Stand" you know The Walking Dude. I picked up two books in the Dark Tower Series. In a tiny hotel room in Korea, I read both of them in two days. In the middle of the first night, here comes the Walking Dude. CREEPS! Dropped the book. Went as far across the room as I could get. Stared at to book on the floor. Took me a minute to pick it up and continue reading. Still haven't finished the Dark Tower series. It's OK. Neither has KIng!

Next up, one of my favorite Zevon songs. "Lawyers Guns and Money". Of
course my favorite line, "I'm hiding in Honduras. I'm a desperate man. Send lawyers Guns and Money, the shit has hit the fan."

And, of course, I have an additional verse...

"... underground Atlanta
aint no place to hide
catcha the MARTA out to Hartsfield
hop a flight and ride..."

Gonna shut it down. Headed to the "Homestead" tomorrow. Climb trees with a chainsaw. Mow. Cut firewood.

How perfect is this! As I sign off...

"... A certain girl i been in love with a long long time..."

My ring tone for the "Beautiful Brown-Eyed Girl"

Why is it I keep climbing out on limbs!?

Here I go again. Pretty lousy photo quality of your freshly freshened blogger. I do smell good though! :-)

Oddly enough, the "Beautiful Brown-Eyed Girl" found the 'Route 66' sign at a shop down the road from here (in Texas). She also found the really cool lizards. In Boerne, TX I think. I epoxyed magnets to them and as luck would have it, the front door is steel. (I guess nothing is all that odd. I found my favorite OU cap in Atlanta!)

Guess I'll do a mixed post here... Why not?

I caught up on a fave blog today. Wherein I read a really cool line. {Here is one of those moments where education will pay off...} It was full of alliteration and rhyme. SOLID imagery! Yeah, I'm sucking up but I really think that with permission I could channel up some very 'Zevonesque' stuff from a single line on a blog. How cool is that?!?!?!

This thing has not kicked me off, yet. So I think I'll try to slip in another couple of photos and tell another short tale.

OK, first try was a bust... Another concern is, where in the post will the photos land. I don't quite have that worked out yet...

Well. That's two attempts.

I'll try it again later.

I have unleashed the mystery of the barking dogs. There are two Pit Bull Terriers that live in the yard next door. It used to be that when they barked, I'd go see why. Now, they bark all of the time! They are good dogs. Don't seem to be viscious or aggressive. Just 'under attended'. Hell. Neglected.

I had decided on a mixed post but as Capt "Gumby" used to say, "Everybody needs a plan to deviate from."

Going to post this Nadda and try again.

It worked!!!

He cried in disbelief.

Oh, I am gonna have so much fun now! Especially when I figure out where the good cameras are.

I have a couple of other Blogging 101 lessons to figure out. Counters etc. I'll get there.

Writing is way more fun than working on planes. I am so looking forward to going back to school.

It really helps that Spring hath sprung. It's still getting cold at night but not bad. Gorgeous days. Speaking of which... I should be out doing some maintenance on the Ferengi Trading Vessel. My beloved old paid for usually reliable 1993 Dodge pick-up. For the Trekkies, if I open the vent windows in the extended cab and look at her from straight on... Pure Ferengi. Forehead, ears...

My eight year old son says, "Daddy?! You STILL got the Dodge?" Yup.

Pushing 200,000 miles. One radiator, one clutch, one front spindle, two sets of front wheel bearings (don't ask), one battery. Not a lot else other than usual maintenance.

Not to mention V8 power, a five speed tranny, a Granny Gear and a WELL worn glass pack. She really sings when ya hit warp drive!!! ;-)

OK, OK. I'm burning daylight. going to haul the jungle out into the sunlight. Tinker with the truck and try to get some more photos.

Blogging 101...

First attempt to insert photos into the ol' blog. Photo quality stinks but, it's a start.

Decided to feed three birds with one post.

First, "The Beautiful Brown-Eyed Girls" first glimpse of her herb garden.

Second, an homage to Gringa and Bob the Bloggers.

To the right are the beginnings of a large herb garden. The Rosemary, Italian Parsley, Chives and Lavender are going like crazy!!! In addition to these, there are two dozen pods sprouting in the kitchen. (Redundancy) Four pods each of Basil, Mint, Oregano, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme. They will be transplanted next week (I hope).

Here we have a hangar full. This is not from the facility I slave in now. It is a pretty good shot of one King Air amongst a gaggle of Beechjets. The King Air is the one in the foreground with the entry door behind the wing.

My favorite airplanes on the planet. If I had hit that mega millions lotto last night, today I would be looking for a B200 with cargo door, high-float gear and all of the Raisbeck go fast haul more goodies installed. Greek to most of you. Let's put it this way. A "200" will go in and out of unimproved fields. In and out of Trujillo, Mocoron, Isla de Cisne. You could damn near get one in and out of my parents front yard. They are elegant hard working Dames. You can see them standing proud on airfields around the world.

Brief war story. (I know, that's an oxymoron but I will try to be quick.) I used to go out with "My Guys" to scout fields for the next day. I'd kneel at the pedestal and watch the world from the front windows. Hills and trees. Mountains and trees. Still more mountains, hills and trees. One of them would pipe up.
"There it is."
"I'll set us at X altitude and Y airspeed on Z heading. On my mark you time it and we'll see how long it is."

Now, let's see what happens when I press "PUBLISH"!!??

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Did I tell ya I nearly killed myself?

"I hate airplanes" and "...I nearly killed myself" should have been inverted. At least chronologically.

Last week, Friday and Saturday were Tire Change Hell.

"I want THREE guys on this airplane!"

OK. For?


I'm looking at this plane. A Hawker 800XP. I figure three guys must mean a complete five tire job or at LEAST the four mains.

(TECH NOTE: It's easy for a pilot to put big flat spots on main tires. You steer planes with your feet and your steering pedals actuate the brakes too. Say, You are Luke Duke. You make the impossible leap over the whatever. The General Lee is airborne. Your foot is on the brakes. Car is flying. Car touches down. Now, you are dragging the tires across the pavement because they weren't turning as fast as the car was going. Anti-lock brakes don't care at that point. The wheel sensors only try to keep wheel speeds equal. 4X0=0!)

Can you say, "Eight way fornication with a goat?"

So, five tires? Four? NO! TWO!! Three mechanics. One QA guy. One Parts guy!!! TWO FRIGGIN TIRES!!!! Add to that, a mechanics worst nightmare kinda pilot... a Pilot with mechanics licenses and a snotty attitude that insists on getting his hands dirty, a little. And an equally useless Service Manager, dirty, but just a little.

It's a story in itself. That was Friday afternoon and I got off work an hour and a half late.

Saturday. It's just us weekend guys. Not much going on. None of the management induced chaos of Monday - Friday. We're moving along. Two of us on one plane and one on another King Air.

At 1430, tire change on the other King Air.

Can you Invert the eight way goat fornication?

Four tires, One mech. No parts researched or ordered. Airplane is not on jacks. Gotta be finished before the goat goes home. Have ya guessed who the goat was?

We get her up on jacks. I 'started' pulling valve cores. Gathered up the parts, tech data and etc. I pretty much broke the steps down to wheel by wheel. Do 'this' four times, do 'that four times' and on an on.

In a rush...

A hurry up offense. A rush of any sort has ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE IN THIS BUSINESS AND I KNOW IT!!! I don't care what your schedule is. I don't care what my schedule is. Paying more attention to the clock than to the task for whatever reason can get me or someone else(s)

Rookie Mistake. Complacence. In a rush to finish.

These wheels are "Split Rims." Two halves held together with eight bolts. They take something like 85 psi to support the plane. (The 350 is 85 +2 -2 psi)

Ya know, I really thought I was paying attention. I had my knowledge and experience, my tech data... I had a rhythm going. I was making pretty good time.

I skipped a step.

Those of you that "Know" will ask, "Why did you do it that way?" I don't know...

I had 'started' pulling valve cores to relieve the pressure prior to removing the (one) nut that holds the wheel on the axle. I removed the wheels. Removed six of the eight bolts. Put the wheels in the bead breaker. Then removed the other two bolts.

It was working and I was making good time. On the first three, I DOUBLE checked the valve core before I started loosening bolts....

I had five of eight bolts out of the LAST wheel. I was loosening the sixth. I realized I had skipped a step. I hadn't DOUBLE checked the valve core. Skipped a step my ass. I had skipped two. Sure enough. The cap was still on the stem. (No way the core had been removed.)

How about some irony to go with my near demise.? I was using the top of the tire cage as a work table!

I fumbled with the latch on the cage. I had never used it. Never seen anybody use it. We ALWAYS (morbidly laughing to myself here) ALWAYS deflate/ inflate tires on the axle. I put it in the cage and pulled the stem.

Had I gone much farther, I'd have become another BASI legend. The kind where those that "Know Better"... I've heard the stories. I've reacted to them. Seen others react to them. Typically, they squint deeply, wincing, thinking, "What was he thinking?" Then, eyes open, eyes roll and shoulders shrug. Just like "Old Bill" used to say, "The Stupid shall be punished."


I hate airplanes.

OK, I hate working on airplanes.

I am one beat up, bruised and tired blogger.

The plan was to take off early today. It was all set. Cleared.

ALL I had to do was a simple four brake change on a King Air 350. Get the five wheels on and inflated. Do one gear swing. Sell it all to QA. Do the paperwork and get the plane on the deck.

Easy enough right? A 1430 departure was within reach at 0600 this morning. WITH time to spare!

You and I both know better.

"... for want of a nail, a shoe was lost..."

It all started with the o'rings. Typical supply snafu's. I needed eight. Six were ordered. Hey, that should have been good news. If I can only do two brakes and 3 wheels (No nose wheel brake on a King Air.) that eliminates a big chunk of the squawk.

You and I both know better.

Two o'rings had been charged out already and as "Luck" would have it we found them. No biggie. Plenty of time. 0730, start putting things together.

I've got my maintenance manual and parts manual references in hand to follow the steps and, more importantly to sell the job to QA. All of the parts are on hand...

0830 brakes are on and the brake bleeding process begins...

A leak.

Even with paranoid caution and care. Even with generous amounts of lube. An o'ring broke on installation.

See, You and I knew better.

By the way, the sun was coming out and the wind was dying down. Beautiful day to be off.

It all went "Boom" from there.

We did find another o'ring. Don't ask. If you're not a good scrounge and a pack rat, don't consider Aviation Maintenance as a career.

Pulled it apart, put it together, bled them and sold them to QA.

I started to put the FIRST wheel on. I fought me like the dickens. They can be a pain. There are two discs to fit in the wheel. (Just think of an eight pointed star. Now think of a circle with eight corresponding notches to accept the points of the star. Ya gotta get the points of the star to align with the notches in the circle. Now add another star that must align with the same notches in the circle.) I finally called for help. Something was wrong.

Turns out, the brake assembly had been dropped and one of the 'star points' had an odd divot. The disc was warped too!

The day went on and on like that. I left at the usual 1830.

BUT! I saved four hours of leave time that I can still use later.

I hate working on airplanes.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Comments and Emails!!!

All in the same day! Thank You All!!!

This is a banner day for the little blog that might!

Might hell!!!

For those that venture here and ask, "What is he doing? Has he finally lost his mind?" Well, those of you that are asking are the very ones that have known all along that I'm a little off kilter in the first place.

You know:
I sometimes throw too much of myself into something, invest more than I am prepared to loose.
Sometimes, I don't throw enough in the right direction without realizing what it is I have to loose.
I don't suffer loosing well.
I sometimes fly off the handle. I don't do it often but when I do, grab the eye protection!
blah, blah, blah...
You also know that I can go on forever! LOL!

So. "Salvage Operation 2007".

One more thing. You know that at times I am more like Silly Putty than Teflon. BUT! I spring back into shape!

Back to saving '07. Those of you that have been here the last few days know that bank accounts have been ravaged. Mail boxes have been savaged. I find today that my reputation is being attacked as well.

"Mr Chekov, Mr Sulu shields up and maximum warp! UH, Mr Spock? What the hell is going on and what heading should we take?!"

"Captain, I suggest that we go ANYWHERE but here."

"Chekov, Sulu! First star to the left and straight on 'til morning!"


Dear reader, please remain in your seat with the seat belt securely fastened. The ride to the first star will be a little bumpy. Should the oxygen masks deploy, don yours first then assist the children, elderly and infirmed.

I have worked far too hard. Put up with way too much. Sacrificed more than I could have imagined in the last seven or eight years to have it dragged into the abyss again.

My Paternal Grandfather used to harp about attitude and reputation. So much that it was irritating. What I really found irritating was when I started seeing things the same way. (OUCH!)

I've had my attitude problems all along. I've tried to learn and correct.

I've done my fair share of damage to my reputation. Hard to repair. (I should've
listened to the Old Man.) I have expended a lot to repair it.

I've also been STUNNED to hear things. Out and out blatant fabrications designed to cover someone Else's ass and at the expense of mine!!!!!!

This should have been at least two different posts. I should be in bed. I still can't
bring myself to get in it so I'm going back to the couch.

There's a whole lotta rantin'.