Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ANGUS...BOOM, BOOM, ANGUS...


Yeah, it was just like that!!!!!!!!!!
(Just, we were all 20 years older than last time!)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Foreword: 12/06/2008 15:16 Hrs

To tell the "Thanksgiving Road Trip Story" it's really necessary to roll the clock back and tell the "Once More Back To The OKAY CITY Story".

There's a huge gap between now and the last installment from "The Western Inn".

The problem is and the reason I haven't already written the second part of the weirdness that was the Western Inn is that as soon as it was over it faded quickly into the fog of the rear view.

Now I'm going to back flip into the fog and try to pick up enough of the pieces to tell a compelling tale. (By 'compelling' I just hope it DOESN'T compel you to remove me from your reading list!!!

Prelude- 12/06/2008 15:14 Hrs

Some of you are waiting for "The Story".

A couple of things to keep in mind.

A) Not all stories have pristine endings. The script sometimes fails and the credits roll over a very alternate ending.

B) Not all stories are easy to tell. Ref: A) above.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Say What?

Ohh, the "OK" legal system.

Seems that it has taken them from August 'til now to decide NOT to press criminal charges against a local apartment complex and the local electric company.

Why would they consider charges?

An idiot tried to steal copper wires. Hot, copper wires. He got himself kicked out of the Gene Pool.

Ahh, our Juris-Estupides...

How about a counter suit? The apartment complex and the utility company VS the family for indiscriminate breeding? Vandalism? ETC?!

Vanity Plates

The Best Vanity Plate- Car- License Plate Frame- Combo, so far...

Friday morning I pulled up behind a new Mustang GT.

The plate read:

"HIOCIFR"

The frame read:

"I know, I know, License and Registration"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Test


Seem to be having trouble uploading photos.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

"... It makes me wonder...

what they'll say about me
just some fool rambler
dyin' to be free..."

Joe Ely, Grandfather Blues

Everytime I listen to that song,
I think about Mamma Wanda.

She was the middle daughter of three. Raised by a C-R-U-S-T-Y German carpenter.

You know, from when carpenters were carpenters.

When guys that couldn't speak English could actually miter a SQUARE corner?

When a carpenter built fine furniture without a single nail?

Without a new yankee toy shop?

MY Great Grandaddy would cold-cock that Norm guy.

If for no other reason, I'd tell Ol' Norm that the Old Man's name was Kaiser. Then, I'd sit back and wait for the cold-cockin' to commence.

See, the Old Man's name was Reiser. Old hands would tell the new guys that his name was Kaiser. (Keep in mind this was during the WWI era.)

Then, they'd stand back and wait for the Cold-Cockin' to commence.
(Note to self: Maybe that's where I get some of my twisted sense of humor?)

Reiser brewed his own beer.

He raised three daughters.

He built houses and courthouses in southwest Oklahoma.

That was just after the Land Rush.

Some of them are still standing. Enduring Urban Renewal and tornados, for nearly one hundred years.

Mamma Wanda was the middle daughter. She used to spend her days on the job site with the Old Man.

She was a little girl then. Surrounded by crusty carpenters.

The way I figure it, they all thought of her as their little girl. Hell, if ya made it on Reiser's Crew you had to be an Ace. And, you'd probably already been hit once. I doubt any of them wanted a real old fashioned Dutch Ass Whippin'.

I'm thinking now about how much that old man shaped the woman I met.

I know for sure I don't want (another) ass whippin' from her.

Let me tell you what.

Scariest words I ever heard, my Grandfather was sitting in the living room when I came in, "Your Grandmother is driving around town. She's looking for you. Seems you weren't where you were s'possed to be."

To this day, I can hear his thoughts, "Damn Glad I Aint You!"

"Uh-Oh! Busted."

She was 50-something years old by then...

She lifted my ass offa the floor.

I can't imagine and don't wanna know what the Old Man coulda done to my jaw!

I'm thinking now about how much of the Old Man was instilled in my Father.

My Father died when I was 11 goin' on 12.

When I was 10 or so, he told me, "Boy, I'd better not catch you starting any shit but if the shit gets started, you'd better finish it."

I'll have to follow up on that one some other time because it's out of context.

There are times when I come out of an airplane, grinning, 'Check that out. Ha, I found it, I troubleshot it, I fixed it."

Two of the biggest, "Whoa... That's... Unexpected.", moments of my entire life...

My Son was a tiny baby lying there on the couch, all dammed in with blankets and pillows...

I stared into his eyes...

He seemed to gaze back into mine...

I had to step back for a moment...

I never broke the eye contact but...

For a moment there David Russell was looking at David Ryan and seeing David Edward...

Can you grasp it?

I'm looking at my infant son and in his eyes I see my long dead Father...

A year or so later at Mamma Wanda's house...

"...It was as if I was looking into Daddy's eyes..."

All casual, non-plused, "David Russell, eveytime I look at you, I see my Daddy. Are you brewing beer yet?"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ya see...

See what can happen when ya introduce an unsuspecting Trojan to an eager Beaver? You sometimes get more than you expect!

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/polls?week=5

BOOMER SOONER!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

$700,000,000,000

I'm sitting here in my little space with my aged yet paid for vehicles out front eating leftover pizza... I've been trying to find a word or two to describe how I feel about a Seven Hundred BILLION Dollar Bail Out.

I found one, PISSED.

I'm pissed off!

ONE of the things that really bugs me is the Used Car Sales Third Party Close,"This is a GREAT deal BUT you have to take the deal RIGHT THIS SECOND or the deal is off the table and it will cost you a lot more money later!"

I smell a scam.

Believe me, I've been on both sides of more than a few of those.

So, next thing...

We're gonna call Mr Fuck Up in and LOAN him billions of OUR dollars.

SURE! Great Idea! "Here ya go Mr Fuck Up! You've run your business into the ground. No big deal. Here's $700,000,000,000.00. Go try again!"

YES! I know there are more than one Mr F's.

AND! I know this whole thing started a long time ago.

See, it started with the Slicks and Hicks WE elected or allowed to be elected with our complacency.

Then, those Slicks and Hicks met up with some real Slicky Boys. The ones with the real money.

So, ya know, to put a broader gray area between bribery and honesty, the Slicky Boys hired Lobbyists. The TRUE Slicky Boys.

Alright, I'm outta control here. The whole damn thing is out of control.

I see the CHECK. It's damn hard to miss the 700,000,000,000 Lb Gorilla.

Where's the BALANCE?

Where are the repercussion's for Mr F?

What happens when the same policies produce the same results?

You can't run the world on credit.

I would have failed high school accounting if it weren't for Mary Armstrong letting me copy her homework and her test answers. Still, even I know that multiple accounts and minimum debt service payments = Bad Joo Joo.

And, it's not just John Q. Citizen living that way. It's the whole damn government.

The whole thing is a house of cards. One, just one of the people with a direct line to the underpinnings could pull it out from under us.

I was home when the Repo Man came a callin'. That's not anything anyone wants to experience.

Anybody got a copy of "Mandarin Made Easy"? I think I'd like to get a head start.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday At Work

I was at work this morning when my phone rang at 10:08 AM CDT.

I answered, "Shake My Foundation!"

The Architect began chattering excitedly in Spanish, "Yo tengo! Tengo dos!!!"

"Hell YEAH!!!"

'What?', You ask?

What? What am I gonna doooooooo?

"I'm gonna ride on. Ride on..."

Hell yeah the Architect n Me. AT&T Center. 12 December.

AC/FREAKIN'DC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, yeah...

Shameless head-banging. Shouting,
"ANGUS!!!" stomp stomp "ANGUS!!!" stomp stomp "ANGUS!!!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Christopher Buckley

Occasionally I watch this book review show on C-SPAN.

Authors come on, talk about their newest books and take questions.

I watched an interview with Christopher Buckley this weekend.

He used a metaphor about nitrous, "It's like XYZ on nitrous oxide..."

I don't recall what XYZ was.

Sometimes that's all it takes to put brain in gear. Good, Bad or Indifferent I scribble these things down in the black book or, now the brown book. Mostly that's where they stay...

"You can't write of nitrous oxide. You can't even speak to nitrous unless you have experienced life on nitrous.

Life is full of fits and fitful starts. You can't asses them or appreciate them or understand them... and you most certainly cannot score them... until you've launched upon them for yourself.

Most starts are uneventful, ubiquitous, even boring.

Some shameful.

Some frightful.

Some, howling beasts of erotic erectus-perfectum. Pistons screaming in joyous celebration. Four horn symphonies in cacophonous harmony. They leave long, short lived marks on the highway and long lived sign posts on the roads we travel.

You must notice, I do not speak to nitrous. After four and one half decades, I've yet to crack the valve on the big blue bottle.

After all of these years and fits and starts... I still grope and grasp about in a monochromatic fog... seeking out the valve."

More On "Choppas"

Sometimes you hear something and you know what you heard. Or, you think you do.

Sometimes you wonder what the hell it was you just heard.

Sometimes you ask yourself, "Was that a back-fire or gun fire?" Or, "Was that fireworks or automatic gun-fire?"

This Tuesday afternoon I was outside the East end of our East hangar.

"BLATTATATATATTA"

'Hmmm, Was that...?', I wondered. Briefly.

"BLAT..BLAT....BLAT..BLAT...BLAT"

'Uh, yeah it was, IS gunfire...'

The sequence repeated. Then, repeated again.

'That's not just gun fire. That's a friggin' GUN FIGHT!'

I could hear sirens. I still tried to rationalize the audio. Fireworks and coincidence.

How did I know that my initial instinct was right?

When the news choppas arrived.

Police shootout with a routine traffic stop.

Well, it started out that way.

Bulletin Board

At the facility where I work I'm known as a, "Repeat Offender".

I am among a number of guys that keep showing up, keep coming back when other jobs finish up or don't work out.

They are happy to have us here but they are understandably skittish. They never know when we might smell greener grass somewhere.

I have been in and out of here since 2001 or '02.

The first few times I was an independent contractor. Here a few days at a time working on King Airs. (This place began as an Aero-Commander shop.)

When I arrived three years ago I staked out a parking place. (It's still mine! LOL!) Lot's of guys have habitual parking spots. We can be territorial too.

I'd only been here a few days. At lunch time one day, I backed into a little white Chevy. I stopped, got out and looked. No visible damage.

Heading back inside I asked around for the owner.

That's when I met Joe, "Uh, you Joe?"

"Yeah.?"

"David.", I reached out to shake his hand, "I uh, guess I just backed into your car."

"What?"

No damage. No foul. No hard feelings. I'm still driving the same truck and he's still driving the same little white Chevy car. We've been 'Work Friends' ever since. He does have a new parking spot.

I haven't seen him around much lately. When I do see him he's not in work clothes.

There has been hushed talk about Joe.

Yesterday, I noticed a black and white picture posted on the bulletin board by the time clock.

It looked like some sort of Andy Warhol copy. Six images. Three across the top and three on bottom. From a distance they all looked the same.

Up close...

It was a series of X-Rays of my friend Joe's head.

That funny looking gray smudge in the middle?

A Goddamn big tumor in my friends brain.

Joe had written on the paper, "This is why I'm not here with you guys. Hope to be back soon!"

Me too Joe. Me too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Vultures and Coyotes

Helicopters and TV Entertainment posing as "News".

Now, before I go off screaming about the blood sniffing "News" helicopters...

Some of my best friends have been helicopter pilots. (They say that statement is a sure sign of prejudice. That's another post.)

'Green 1' is a good example. I always thought the DAO Call-Signs were lame. Just be glad you weren't a DAO wife... 'Green Whiskey'. The Major is a great guy and a rotor wing pilot.

Bob and Hal. I've never met them. OK, I haven't yet met them. They both fly helicopters. Both fly for a living.

Hal flies for PHI. (Keep me straight here guys. I don't know my cyclic from my collective!) It seems that Hal's job is flying other folks to and from off shore oil rigs to do their jobs.

Bob flies for a guy that needs to be highly mobile and has the where withal to buy a helicopter and hire a pilot to get him where he needs to be to run his business.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit for Hal to write about a search and rescue mission or having come to the aid of a vessel in distress.

I wasn't surprised to read about Bob 'dropping in' to check on a burning house in Alabama.

Nor was I surprised to see two helicopters hovering high and East of Wiley Post Int'l yesterday.

There are several helicopters operating out of here but these two were in what I refer to as, "Strange Attitudes."

Basically, they were at odd altitudes in odd locations and hovering.

Three emergency vehicles rolling out to the taxiway confirmed my suspicions- They were Vultures.

I scanned around for other traffic. There were planes landing and planes "Holding Short".

Then a small single engine airplane landed and rolled midway down the runway and stopped. The fire trucks rolled out to him and...

That was it. No crash. No fire. No fatalities. No Blood...

Guess what, No vultures. Whoosh! They peeled off. Probably looking for a car wreck.

Imagine a scenario from oh, 30 years ago.

"Joe John Pilot" is out and about in his single engine airplane with retractable landing gear.

"Mrs John" knows he's flying. He does it all the time.

Joe John gets home.

"Hi Honey! How was your flight?"

"Oh, it was OK. When I got back to Wiley Post light the bulb in my nose gear down and locked annunciator was burned out. I had to declare an emergency. Flew past the control tower and they said all three were down. I knew they went down and was purtty sure I heard 'em all lock but I flew by. Landed. Just a burnt out bulb. What's for dinner?"

Versus Today-

"BREAKING NEWS!!! AN AIRPLANE IS ABOUT TO CRASH AND WE HAVE OUR CHOPPER ALL OVER IT!!!"
"Ralph! do you read me? Has the plane crashed? How high are the flames? We think there could be 10 to 12 people aboard this 'turbineprop' Piper Cub. Ralph, Are any of them famous? Are they dead yet? Ralph do you read me?!?!?!?!?"

"Mrs John! It's Mary! Turn on the Channel. Joe John is on TV and he's about to die!!!"

These people chap my ass.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A response to a comment

Rodolfo sent me this-

'Hey David check out this quote from this mech forum:

"I have 27 years experience, in all facets of aviation, and if I leave my current job, all I have to look forward to is about 17 bucks an hour at a new job. So 27 years of experience, plus 30K in tools, is worth 17 bucks an hour. "

It makes me sick to think about it.I know why I got into aviation. It wasn't the money. It's in my blood and I know it. But these statistics aren't very encouraging to someone starting out. If my goal was to be single for the rest of my life I wouldn't care. But I'm at that age where I could actually see myself as a husband and father. If an opportunity comes along that is outside aviation I'm almost tempted to go for it.'

Rodolfo,

I am NOT out to discourage you. Especially if you're in it for love rather than money.

Aviation is more volatile that 100LL. I think it's getting worse.

I've seen shops close without notice. Complete with padlocks from the FAA and IRS. (I ran into a guy years later that told me he had to get a lawyer to get his tools out of the hangar.)

I've been with companies that lost contracts. Once, I just pulled one patch off of my shirt and Velcros another on. The other time it took an international relocation. I had to move my family home from Sicily.

Right here at Wiley Post Int'l I got laid off one July. I went down to the other end of the same hangar and got a job lined up for the very Monday after my current job ended. Same money etc. Same everything.

Two months later, on a Monday, my new boss called me in, "David, you see that Baron out there?"
It was hard to miss. It was the only paying customer in the place at the time.
"Yeah, I see it."
"When you're done with it, I don't have any work coming in for two months. I'm gonna have to lay you off."

Big deal, I thought. Just went through the same thing two months ago...

On the way to work the next day the news on the radio wasn't good. It was horrible.

I got to the shop just in time to see the second plane driving into the World Trade Center.

G.A. went to shit. Quick.

The reason I say that it's getting 'worse' is because of buy outs and sell offs.

Just this week-

I heard of a company in Alabama that was bought out. (Not sure when this happened. It was recent given the age of the storyteller.)

A meeting was called. NO ONE from the outgoing management was present. The new owner said, "In case you don't know, I am the new owner. All of you with badge numbers above number 500, you are terminated as of now."

Yesterday, I met a man that I'd known by name and reputation for 20 years. He'd been with the same company for 23 years.

That part of that company had been bought out, "All of your are fired."

Now, my (presumably) young friend, I've said all of that to say-

Weave yourself a net of friends. It's your safety net. (Be prepared to catch friends as the fall too.)

Continue your education now while it's just a bitch to do so. Don't wait until its nearly or seemingly impossible. Weave more friends.

Build your skills. Various skills, but be sure you're confident in a couple of them regardless of the airframe involved.

You have no idea how it pains me to quote my Grandad on this one but, "It's your attitude." When the other guys are grumbling, keep your mouth shut. Don't fall into the 'this place sucks' void. It will suck you down.

I could go on. TRUST ME! I've been thinking about this post since 0530 this morning!

Rodolfo, just be prepared to bail and have a landing zone in sight. It might not happen but...
When it does...

Either way, do you really want to be dragging your knuckles around a hangar deck 27 years from now?

That doesn't mean you have to get out of aviation. You just have to get ahead of those of us that have done it for decades. It should be easy for you! We're old, beat up, bruised, crippled, blind, slow, and, at any given moment, bleeding profusely!!!

"Come on in!!! The water's fine."

The "Winds of Life"

The winds of life are blowing in new directions this week.

I've been in touch with my daughter just about every other day. Catching up and learning.

Here's a quote that made a cranky old man grin and giggle, "... I can't stand that Rap crap."!!!

She sent me a list (alphabetically but) the first band on the list- AC/DC!!! That Southern Belle didn't fall far from the Ol' Pine Tree eh!? Yeah, my baby rocks.

She doesn't like Algebra. I really wish that gene hadn't been passed on.

Today, I got my little raise. I guess you already read that.

I was still a little aggravated as I drove home.

I stopped at a convenience store in the old neighborhood. Mostly, because it was the easiest place on my way to get out of and back into traffic again. It's right across the street from both; a little house I rented years ago and the car lot where I purchased the Dodge. That intersection is the site of one of the darkest scariest days of my entire life.

Hell, it was a very black period of my life.

It's not the first time I've stopped there on this 'Tour of the OKAY City'. Partly, like I said it's a convenient convenience store. Largely, I stop there to face demons with my shoulders squared.

As I got back back into the truck I saw an older man walking across the street. He had on a sporty hat, a loose fitting shirt with a tropical print, slacks, and brightly polished shoes...

I got out of the truck and locked eyes on him. My mind was trying to verify what I already knew in my heart.

Eyes locked, I walked directly at him.

As he stepped up to the sidewalk he looked up and saw me.

He recognized me immediately.

We shouted each other's name. It was one of those moments when your right hand reaches out to shake hands and both hands reach out for an embrace.

I hugged that old man as tightly as he hugged me.

The fuckin' tears tried to tear down the damn dam again.

That old mad is a true true friend.

Whenever I hear the song "Curtis Lowe", Old John is the old man I see.

My eyes are still damp but I'm laughing.

You shoulda seen the neighborhood folk looking at the old black man and the not yet so old white boy hugging and wiping tears away!!!

[Epilogue: I'm not going to go into the details here today but John had my back at a time when I sure as hell needed back up. "That's what friends do." Right? No. Not always. That day John and a friend of his DID. They did so at great risk to themselves. That, is why my eyes are damp.]

Thank You Very *&#%#$ Much

Thank you Mr Leech. I can't possibly express my deep appreciation for the $.55 per hour "raise".

I can't convey my joy.

I am overwhelmed by the opportunity to contribute even MORE of my hard work to you.

I'm delighted to be a larger contributor to your plan for the redistribution of wealth in America.

I'm tickled that you now have additional funding with which to finance your next raise.

Gee Mr Leech, sure wish I got to vote on my raises. Shucks that must be really neato.

'Cause I'd sure vote for a raise that would net me a FRIGGING increase in my take home pay!

OH! You've got that figgered out dontchya Mr Leech.

Well, I'll damn sure vote against you.

Your opponent will be another parasite. I'll vote against him too, at the first opportunity.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Mighty Damn Is Leaking

but I think it's gonna hold.

It's got to.

Part of me wants to bottle this up, selfishly and for reasons that are beyond wrong.

Rest of me wants to climb to the roof

Fire my pistols into the air

And,

As,

Stinging acid tears leak past the mightiest emotional dam ever constructed

DEMAND that the world hear me

My Eldest Child Loves me

She told me so...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAfwiOxaRbk&feature=related

The Architect is a big John Prine fan. I couldn't really name a John Prine song.

I just ran across this on Hal's blog, http://www.haljohnson.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 7, 2008

07/07/88


All day long I've written the date 07/07/88.
OOPS.
Why?
My Airframe and Powerplant licenses are Twenty Years old today.
The Matchstick obscures my number.
The address is 20 years old.
And my signature... You should see it now! LOL!
Illegible to say the least!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Did you pay attention in THIS class?












Dumpster Diving 101...

NO! That's not me. Dumpster Diving is why we keep young guys around.

My young friend was looking for new parts that he thought might have been thrown away.

He didn't find them.

I did.

ON TOP OF HIS TOOL BOX!!!

Too much fun.

You want it when?! Part II

There are actually two Frankensteins (Cobbled together). Or, Peters ("Robbing Peter to pay Paul") airplanes in the hangar.



It's neck and neck as we come down to the wire.



One will get ahead but have fuel leaks.



The other jumps into the lead but has no ITT indications. Basically, ITT is engine temperature and it dictates operations like simply starting the engines. If you can't tell how hot the engine is running you can't or shouldn't be running the engine. The PT-6 starts and runs quite a bit hotter than our water cooled auto's.



Lots of nit noid parts are or were MIA.



One guy asked me Saturday, "David, did you find the parts that I'm missing?"



"They're not MISSING! I know EXACTLY where they are! They're in Indonesia."



There has been some cannibalism going on BETWEEN the two planes also.



I fixed the wing ice lights on mine this weekend.



Today I asked one of the guys closing up panels about the L/H O/B cowl.



It was MISSING an ice light!!!



It was working again before I left. ;-)



I need some parts and placards for the airstair door.



I'm going in early tomorrow because I know exactly where to find some!!!

Weird recollection/ connection for the day...

Something you acquire while working in a hangar full of planes and people is the ability to ID people by their shoes.

Much of the time you can only see someone from the knees down as you scan the deck.

It's always seemed amusing to me. Is that weird enough?

Of course not!

Ya have to add the recollection.

Mama Wanda has told me a few stories over the years that made me quake. Sometimes a little. Other times a lot.

Once she told me that her Father, my Great Grandfather had been a early member of The Klan. (Apparently there were some redeeming qualities to the group, early on.)

He denied, to her, being involved.

But...

She polished his good shoes every week. When the Klan would march, she recognized the shoes.

60 years later and I still ID folks by their shoes!

She told me that Grandad Walter quit the Klan when they, 'started doing bad things...'. She didn't elaborate except to say that when he quit there were repercussions...

One night someone came to his bedroom window and called his name. When Walter went to the (open) window the caller threw acid in his face.

I should do a series on Mama Wanda. She had a few tales! More important, I tell some of these tales around my little Brothers and hear, "I never heard THAT one before!"

A few good titles would be:

"Mama Wanda Meets Jessie James"

"Mama Wanda Meets the Rattlesnake"

"Mama Wanda 'Fixes' the Fine Cabinetry"

"Mama Wanda Sweetens the Homebrew"

"Mama Wanda and the Burglar"

"Mama Wanda Slaps the Base Commander"

"Mama Wanda and 'My Father's Eyes'"

"Mama Wanda and Great Great Grandad"

"Mama Wanda Becomes a Women" (She's 80 something and that one might still get me spanked. WHY she told ME about it is still beyond me!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Boy

A recent post by Hal Johnson http://haljohnson.blogspot.com/2008/06/big-dork-dad-in-waterpark.html had me rolling in the floor and reliving my own amusement part nightmare at the same time.

What follows is an email to my three younger brothers after a (mostly) successful trip to the park with my son several years ago.

""...Lesson Number ONE, Ein, Uno!!!

When your six year old says, "Daddy, I don't want to ride the 'Mind Bender', I'm scared."

It does not matter that he said the same thing about the parachute, the mine train, and every other ride.

Nor does it matter that you stood in line for an hour with unruly ill mannered people and kids.

Much less that you are next in line to ride in the front seat of the first car.

TAKE THE WALK OF SHAME!!!!!!!!!
Lesson Two-

When taking your six year old for a 'temporary' tattoo ask the girl,

"How temporary is temporary?"




PRIOR TO GETTING THE TATT!!!!!!!!!

Just thought ya might benefit from my mistakes.

The big boy 'coaster was a big oopso'!!!

As we got to that last clickety-clack before the pause before it all breaks loose...

We had sobbing, screams and croc tears...

(He did pass the height req. by a coupla inches.)

All day long he'd said the same thing, "I'm scared of that one Daddy."

Even Disney rides!

All but the train of 'big rig trucks'. He really wanted to 'drive' those.

Hope he's not scarred..."""

Monday, June 9, 2008

"The Western Inn"

Lightly edited and added to. It pretty much gets through day one.

I'm still trying to figure out what to incorporate from work and how.

There were a few uh, interesting moments at The Western. Not too many but too many to cram into one nights worth of tale.


What follows is a fictional account. Any resemblance to places or people; living or dead is their own damn fault.

Rated R for Adult Language and Situations.

The Western Inn
7666 NW Route 66
Bethune, OK

William George arrived in Okay City, OK with his truck and his toolbox.

William George made his living as an itinerant aircraft mechanic. Rolling from town to town wherever the work lead him.

Once again the road lead to Okay City.

The license plates say, “Oklahoma is OK!” That summed it up for William George. Oklahoma IS ok. It’s not bad and it’s not great. It’s just ok.

That Sunday afternoon in February after he made his way off of I35 and headed West on I40, he picked the first motel that looked reasonably safe and convenient.

His tool box, lashed to the bed or the pick-up was foremost in his mind. To lose it to theft would be an overwhelming loss. Not just the expense of replacing it but the work lost without it. Without it, he couldn’t work to replace it.

The last place he stopped for gas in Texas was just south of Dallas. It had been breezy but still shirt sleeve weather.

Okay City was another world. The wind was hard out of the north and bitter.

William George hustled into the motel office and scored a room for the night.

He backed into a space in front of his room and hustled inside.

Once inside he immediately cranked up the heat and threw open curtain, to keep an eye on the tool box.

With the bed pillows stacked and a cold beer on the night stand he made a few phone calls and fell asleep with the TV on.

At six am. He lurched out of bed and looked out the window. “Still there.” the tool box was still closed and lashed in place.

The recruiter had told him to report at seven-thirty a.m. Having worked in the same facility previously he remembered the start time as seven.

With plenty of time but no coffee pot in the room William George hurried to get ready and get a few cups from the lobby before he had to leave.

He pulled on a light jacket and stepped out the door.

“Shit!!!” 20 degrees a stiff wind and the truck windows frosted solid.

Once again he hustled to the lobby.

No coffee ready.

He checked out and hustled to the truck.

“Shit!!!” The inside of the cab was a deep freeze.

William George put the key in the ignition and turned it.

‘rauhh rauhh rauh rau’

The cold had sucked the life out of the battery.

He hustled once again to the lobby to call a taxi for a jump start.

“Yellow Cab.”

“I need a jump at the Overnight Motel.”

“Twenty dollars, up front, whether it starts or not.”

“I figured that. About how long?”

“30 to 45 minutes.”

“Great. I’ll be waiting.”

At least there was coffee brewing now. He took a Styrofoam cup and pulled the half full pot from the burner. Still brewing, the stream of hot coffee made a huge sizzling puddle on the burner, the counter and the floor.

He made a half hearted effort at cleaning up the mess and hustled back to the truck, ‘Maybe if I try one more time…’

‘rau, rau.’

“Damn it!”

Funds were tight and a twenty dollar “whether it starts or not” jump start was not in the budget.

A couple came down the stairs and began to get in the car in the next stall.

“Excuse me! Good morning. Do ya’ll have any jumper cables?”

“No, I’m sorry.”, the woman replied from over the roof.

“But, we’ve got a jumper box at home.”, the man added before getting into the passenger side.

“I could go get it…”

“She’s got to take me to work first…”

“But, I can be back in about twenty minutes.”

“Great. I’d really appreciate that. I just got to town and today is my first day of work.”

“Oh man, I’ll be back. We only live a few blocks from here.”

“I’ll be here. Thanks!”

William George hustled back to the lobby for another cup of coffee.

He stood there, peering out the plate glass window at the sunrise and the building traffic, “This does not bode well for my last trip to Okay City.”


For William George, EVERY trip to Okay City was to have been the last.

He’d grown up 90 miles from the spot where he stood.

1981 had been his first attempt to escape.

Again in 1982.

Finally, he thought, he’d made his break and gone to Dallas. Once there he’d started a new life and career.

That career took him first to Selma, Alabama. From Dallas County Texas to Dallas County Alabama overnight.

Eight years later that career brought him back to Okay City for a year.

At the first opportunity he was gone again for nearly four years.

He had returned to lick wounds and get back on track in 2000 and got stranded in the Okay City for several years.

Atlanta provided a year or so respite until he got angry and quit a job where he was caught up in “Political Crossfire” and budget crunching.

He’d returned for another year and it was back to Texas. San Antonio, Texas.

San Antonio was the place where he’d long ago decided that if he had to live in the United States of America it would be in San Antonio in the By- God- Republic of Texas.

19 months later he was back again, in Okay City.

Every time it carried a lump of defeat.

‘I can’t do any better.’

‘I can’t make it anywhere else.’

“I’ll have to go back to the Okay City. Goddamn it!”

Not yet late for work but the inevitable approached with the sun.

‘Wait a minute?’, They live right around the corner but are staying in a motel? How or why does that work?

William George returned to the freezing pick-up. He didn’t want to miss the rescue. Whoever it turned out to be. He just hoped that the cab and the lady with the jumper box didn’t arrive at the same time.

As it turned out the lady that just lived around the corner form the motel returned before the taxi showed. You can almost always count on those pirates to take longer than they estimate.

She rolled the back window down and said, “There ya go!”

William George snatched the box and connected it to the already exposed battery.

“Come on baby doll…”

He turned the ignition switch and the engine responded with the usual growl.

“Any wonder why I love you. I’ll get you a new battery.”

He quickly disconnected the box, slammed the hood, coiled the cords around the box and returned it to the reopening window, “Thank you so very much!”

Immediately back in the cab, he jammed the truck down into second gear, hauled ass out of the parking lot and immediately hit the first traffic light red.

“Damn”, he immediately felt guilty, “I should have at least offered her some money.

After having to stop at each and every traffic signal between the motel and the hangar he arrived 15 minutes late.

“Perfect.”

He punched in and asked the first guy he saw, “Where do I find Don the contractor coordinator?”

“That’s me. You George.”

“Yup.”

“Lemme introduce ya to Keenan, he’s the Floor Supervisor.”

“Uh, I know Keenan. I’ve been here before.”

“Great, yeah, he’s right in here. I’ll introduce ya.”

“Sure.”

William George knew Keenan very well.

When Don said, “Keenan, this is…”

Keenan looked up from his desk and said, “Get your tool box and get to fucking work.”

Don thought, ‘That’s just Keenan.’

William George just grinned and went to find the fork lift.

“What the fuck are YOU doing?”, it was Stavros.

“Looking for the fork lift.”

“Oh goddamn you’re not here to work are ya?”

“Yup.”

“Pull the Dodge around. I’ll unload it for ya.”

With the Snap-On treasure chest on the old familiar floor William George scanned the deck for work to do.

Don the contractor coordinator approached, “We’re wrapping this one up for storage.”, and walked away.

‘Bullshit’, thought William George, ‘There’s gotta be something better to do.’ It was then he spotted James, the sheet metal lead man on the next airplane over.

“Hey! I heard you were coming back. How was San Antonio?”

“Had it’s ups and downs.”

“Mostly downs?”

“A couple of deep downs.“

“Glad you’re back.”

“What have ya got going? Need any help?”

“Spar repairs. I need some sealer scrapped.”

“Beats putting plastic on windows. Which fuel cells.”

Eight A.M. and he was back at work.

Most of the old cast of characters were still around. William George enjoyed the welcome he received. He really liked it a lot. It began to bring him up from one of the ‘deep downs’ of San Antonio.

It didn’t set well with some of his fellow contract employees.

Contractors are expendable. They can be fired in less time than it takes a NASCAR Cup driver car to shift gears.

A couple of the guys felt themselves drop a notch in the standings without even a race being run. Penalized, so to speak.

It really didn’t help that the F.N.G. just buddied up with a NASCAR Official.

James has no qualms about firing contractors and has the full support of management. He earned it. James made his bones as a contractor and is a sheet metal artist.

William George set about scrapping sealer from the seams of various fuel cells. It was a really crummy job but all the crummy jobs have to be dooe before the plane gets out the door.

One thing about scrapping sealer from fuels cells is you have to look inside with a flashlight and mirror and identify your target.

You can’t see a thing once you shove your arm in the hole but you can see what’s going on around you.

William George began to notice; these two guys cliquing up over there, that guy on the computer more than anything or anyone else, that guy wandering around with a parts requisition in his hand, that guy walking from place to place talking to whomever was around.

‘Sucks to be you guys.’

At Two P.M. James was packing up for the day.

“James, what time do you come in?”

“Five-thirty. You can come in early if you want to.”

“See ya in the morning.”

Four P.M. finally ticked around.

William George headed back out to the Dodge, “Crap, I don’t have a place to go ‘home’ to.”
He headed towards Route 66. A piece of what was left of the Mother Road anyway.

Having been in the Okay City too many times before he knew that the farther East he went the more expensive it would be to find a room.

He turned West not knowing what might remain of his memories.

Less than a mile down the road Mother provided.

An ancient tourist court with a yellow banner flipping and flopping in the incessant Oklahoma wind, “Free Cable and Wireless Internet”

“The Western Inn”

Sunday, June 8, 2008

?Uh-Oh?

My phone rang yesterday morning.

It wasn't one of those O'Dark-Thirty calls but I was at work...

"I know you're probably at work but your Brother had a heart attack last night... he's in room 918..."

Seconds later the phone rang again, "Did you..."

"Yes..."

"Where are you?

"At work. You?

"At work.

"Hospital?

"Rolling.

100% blockage of the main vein. JUST the main vein.

Guess What?

"That Shit Hurts Like A Mother Fucker."

I don't know that first hand but when I see one of my younger brothers strapped to a hospital bed. Plumbed up, wired up and monitored up...

When he says it's so. It is so.

There ain't a wimp amongst us. If there's a runt, it's me.

I'm the oldest and the smallest.

He's going to be OK.

They say it was a "Mild" one.

Another screwed up thing is that he's been watching his diet and exercising.

And!!! He'd had blood work done and his cholesteral checked in the last few weeks...

"It's all OK. You're healthy."

So much for regular check-ups.

All those bastards care about is their mortgage, alimony and Ferrari payments.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Blogger pains

Blogger is being a pain in the butt!!!

The format etc et al on the "Miracles" post... I keep trying to 'fix' it and Blogger keeps doing it their way.

argh...

It's F-R-eakin' hot and WINDY. The Alaskans didn't seem to care for it but I love it.

OK, I DON'T love it but I do much prefer it.

My new A/C unit is great. I leave it on low fan and low cool when I leave in the morning. When I get home it's bearable but I have to crank it up to high to make it through the real heat of the day. During the night I turn it down and eventually off.

Today when I got home it was 93 degrees and felt like 97.

Ref. Previous post... if it Feels Like F-R-eakin' 97 Degrees it IS 97 Degrees!!!

The Frankenstein airplanes (from the "You Want It When" post) are making headway.

All four engines are on and mostly connected. 183 has her props.

OH! Didya know that a 1900 has THREE props?!

Well, of course not but 183 did get one prop installed twice! LOL!

One of the Directs ram rodded the R/H prop install this morning. Good Job!

Then he set about getting the L/H up.

Well, when he uncovered the L/H prop he noticed a plastic plug in the pilot shaft, "Oh, s--t. I hope I pulled the plug out of the other prop... I don't remember. I don't remember seeing it. Crap!"

"Dumbass.", said gentle and caring me.

They pulled the R/H back off and sho-nuff...

No plug in the way.

You can tell by my generous and sympathetic reply that I completely understood the Boys' plight.

He's smarter than he looks.

In my opinion any wrench that doesn't sweat over his every move should not be there.

That is not a very concise or clear thought but...

A certain amount of self doubt is healthy.

To this day not a launch goes by that I don't fret.

I often think back to being all alone with that King Air in Teguc as chief cook and bottle washer.
Mechanic, Book Keeper, Parts Guy, GSE Guy, Inspector... For three years.

I flew on her EVERY chance I got.

I fretted over EVERY launch.

Frequently I woke up in the middle of the night asking myself if I did this or that. (Still do.)

More than once I went back to the hangar to quadruple check.

You can take it to an extreme. Ref. Me last year.

My head was SO So so far out of the business.

I didn't just terrify myself. I terrified my co-workers.

I don't blame them.

This is a totally different environment.

Here I stay engaged. I get handed things and I handle them.

Here I have people coming to me, "David, how do I do this?".

"David, I need these but can't find them. There aren't any in stock."

"David, I've never seen a 1900 before. I'm a sheetmetal guy. How do we hang this engine?"

"Dave, there's a King Air coming in and..."

"Dave' there's a Cessna 152 coming in..." "A WHAT?! Yo no se nada de ninguna 152!!!" "Whatever Dave. Fix it." (I did fix it. I LUCKED OUT! LOL!)

BTW, Rodolfo, if you're out there I lucked out by putting my hand on every electrical connection I could in the starter circuit. When you go to inspect or trouble shoot something, TOUCH IT! Wiggle it, Twist it. Shake it. Etc. You'll be surprised how many things you find/ solve because something is loose.

Do you know why it's different here?

I can TRUST these guys and they TRUST me.

I've been in and out of this hangar since '01 or so. I've known some a couple of these guys for 20 years and a lot of them for 6 or 7 years.

They know me well enough to know that the last thing I would ever do is LIE or COVER something up or OMIT it from my explanation.

If I don't know something I'm gonna make it clear.

If I F-up I'm gonna shout it out.

I do love my job too. Once again.

Now, if I can figure out to move it 480 miles south...

I'm working on it!!! (Really, it's not unprecedented.)

This thing sorta spun out didn't it? All I was gonna do was whine and bitch because Blogger wouldn't cooperate.

Classic Nada I guess!

The sun is going down and I've notched the A/C down a click or two. Maybe it's safe to take out the trash now.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Miracles

We don't ACTUALLY perform miracles.

It just looks like it.
Here's a 1900C Model. Nice little one owner.

ONLY 51,000 hours and 44,000 cycles!!!
Some Good Guys operate her out of Alaska and take good care of her.

To be honest we just painted her and did an avionics mod.




















These pics are from the 2 pixel tool box cam. I hope to get some better shots tomorrow.

This is not one of the planes from the "You Want It When" post. They will NOT be so pretty. 'As is means as is'. Well, in our world it means, "All of the airworthiness items are fixed so... you'll probably get home OK. Buena Suerte!"

Oh, Rodolfo I guess I finally answered your question. No, not King Airs. 1900s are their over grown cousins.

He sat there at idle with the props in feather until he got ready to taxi. At first, I wondered why. Then it all came back... These guys operate on unimproved fields. Keeping the props in feather and the ice vanes deployed helps reduce F.O.D. DUH!!! I miss being out in the field as opposed to repair stations. OP's is where it's at!!!
I've got more photos from Delivery Day but I'm having trouble uploading them. I'll get them up soon but there isn't anything spectacular about them.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

That Boy Better Be Buying...

that Security Guard and Official for saving him!!!

Danika was on her way down the lane to kick his ass!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

You want it WHEN??!!??!!??!!!!






















They want to fly next Friday.
Not in this life.

Monday, May 5, 2008

What'll it be?

Residents of Edmond, OK want cell phone service.
Residents of Edmond, OK don't want a new cell phone tower.
"Not in my backyard!"

U.S. Residents want electricity.
They don't want nuclear power plants.
They don't want to build wind power fields.

U.S. Residents want gas prices to go down.
U.S. Residents want to be less dependant on foreign oil.
They don't want to drill for oil in areas rich with oil.
They don't want to build new refinery's.
"Not in my back yard!"

"Not off of the Florida coast! You'll ruin my view! {Oil}
"Not off of Martha's Vinyard! You'll ruin my (drunken murderous, Kennedy) view!" {Windmills}
"Not in South Texas! You'll interrupt migratory bird routes!" {Windmills}
"Not in ANWAR! You'll disrupt caribou migration!" {Oil}

Well then, I ask, "What do you people want?"

"WE WANT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DO SOMETHING!!!"

OOHhhhh, Okay. Move to Cuba! Ya get that free health care AND Castro and Chavez will be drilling off of the Florida coast. IF they aren't already! Rah! Rah! Go! Go! CITGO!!!

I'm not sure how you'll import that 4X4 Lincoln Navigator though.

One more question, how often do ya go muddin' in that 4X4?

Monday, April 28, 2008

A recent question from the comment section

Asked 'what would you do different?'.

Well my young friend, first of all, I would have pursued that law degree instead.

But we won't go into that.

Let me ask you a question Rodolfo, 'Three to Five years.' Are ya sick of hearing that yet?

It's pretty much true. It will take you from three to five years to get a good foothold in this business.

What does that have to do with what I would do differently?

I'd spend that time to get a degree. Even though I never planned to turn wrenches forever I should have gone ahead and gotten a Bachelors of Aviation Maintenance Management. Do you see the keyword there?

Also, I'd pursue my IA. I've NEVER needed one in the situations I've been in but I'd get it anyway.

Why? A better (and more current) understanding and knowledge of the FARs.

Would you like to guess how many times I've had to do deep research in the FARs or even the 43:13 for that matter?

Damn few. Nearly ZERO.

So, again, why then? Wait 'til ya have to go toe to toe with a boneheaded inspector over some stoopitshit. It'll happen.

What else... Degree, IA...

I'd be a 'Tron! A Sparky. An Avionics Geek.

They don't do a lot of heavy lifting. They don't get greasy. Ya rarely see one of 'em bleeding. And, you almost never see one sweat!

(I ran that by another one of my Avionics Buddies today. He just chuckled and shook his head. I'd already been aggravating him. I needed a special pair of crimpers. He was a little busy so I threatened to use, "My car stereo crimpers". "Oh geeze David. Why would you use 3$ crimpers on a 5$ splice?!)

{{{Speaking of crimpers. KEEP YOUR DIGITS OUT OF 'EM!!! Once you close them past that first 'click' then you have to close them COMPLETELY before you can get them open again. That wasn't something they taught me in A&P school. I thank Joe Hitt for keeping me out of that bind.}}}

As things get more complex and more electric and more sophisticated (and they will) a solid capability with wiring diagrams and avionics/ electrical troubleshooting will be more in demand.

Sheetmetal/ Composites are another art form. Also, in demand. I envy the guys that can do that and do it well.

What else? I might even be more of a hangar rat. I've never understood the guys that get finished working on airplanes all day and the head over to another airport to hang out. BUT, NEVER underestimate that power of friends and contacts in this business!!!

Ol' Bill told me years ago, "Never treat an airplane as if you'll never see it again."

I'd add people to that theory.

A week or so ago I ran into an old friend. I mean a way back friend. We got our licenses within months of each other. He turned me on to an overseas job as a King Air Tech Rep. I applied and there is no word (or sign of any word coming) yet but you see the point. I can count on my hands the number of times I've even seen that fellow since 1990.

This part is easy for Me to say but, a Repair Station is great place to start BUT you'd better elbow, kick and scratch your way to the front. Get to where you are learning to troubleshoot and fix flight squawks.

EASY for me to say, don't get stuck in a back shop or the pits of a heavy.

This post is degenerating. It is really easy for me to preach from the couch. I've made my mistakes and I'd need both hands and have to take of my shoes just to add up the big mistakes. I'd just hate to see anybody else make the same ones.

Do keep us posted on your progress. How about a background story or a place to start from? Guam was it? Native? Navy? Or Military Brat? (I'm a quasi Army Brat.) Oh, and your friend... King Air pilot? The folks that are out there doing that sort of stuff are the ones to cultivate.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Draft. Uncut and Unedited. Part 1

What follows is a fictional account. Any resemblance to places or people; living or dead is their own damn fault.

Rated R for Adult Language and Situations.

The Western Inn
7666 NW Route 66
Bethune, OK

William George arrived in Okay City, OK with his truck and his toolbox.

William George made his living as an itinerant aircraft mechanic. Rolling from town to town wherever the work lead him.

Once again the road lead to Okay City.

The license plates say, “Oklahoma is OK!”

That summed it up for William George. Oklahoma IS ok. It’s not bad and it’s not great. It’s just ok.

That Sunday afternoon in February when he escaped I35 he picked the first motel that looked reasonably safe and convenient.

His tool box, lashed to the bed of the pick-up was foremost in his mind. To lose it to theft would be an overwhelming loss. Not just the expense of replacing it but the work lost without it.

Without it, he couldn’t work to replace it.

The last place he stopped for gas was just south of Dallas. It had been breezy but still shirt sleeve weather.

Okay City was another world. The wind was hard out of the north and bitter.

William George hustled into the motel office and scored a room for the night.

He backed into a space in front of his room and hustled inside.

Once inside he immediately cranked up the heat and threw open curtain, to keep an eye on the tool box.

With the bed pillows stacked and a cold beer on the night stand he made a few phone calls and fell asleep with the TV on.

At six am. He lurched out of bed and looked out the window. “Still there.” the tool box was still closed and lashed in place.

The recruiter had told him to report at seven-thirty a.m. Having worked in the same facility previously he remembered the start time was seven.

With plenty of time but no coffee pot in the room William George threw out the half full beer and hurried to get ready and get a few cups from the lobby before he had to leave.

He pulled on a light jacket and stepped out the door.

“Shit!!!”

20 degrees a stiff wind and the truck windows frosted solid.

Once again he hustled to the lobby.

No coffee ready.

He checked out and hustled to the truck.

“Shit!!!”

The inside of the cab was a deep freeze.

William George put the key in the ignition and turned it.

‘rauhh rauhh rauh rau’

The cold had sucked the life out of the battery.

He hustled once again to the lobby to call a taxi for a jump start.

“Yellow Cab.”

“I need a jump at the Overnight Motel.”

“Twenty dollars, up front, whether it starts or not.”

“I figured that. About how long?”

“30 to 45 minutes.”

“Great. I’ll be here.”

At least there was coffee brewing now. He took a Styrofoam cup and pulled the half full pot from the burner. Still brewing, the stream of hot coffee made a huge sizzling puddle on the burner, the counter and the floor.

He made a half hearted effort at cleaning up the mess and hustled back to the truck, ‘Maybe if I try one more time…’

‘rau, rau.’

“Damn it!”

Funds were tight and a twenty dollar “whether it starts or not” jump start was not in the budget.

A couple came down the stairs and began to get into the car in the next stall.

“Excuse me! Good morning. Do ya’ll have any jumper cables?”

“No, I’m sorry.”, the woman replied from over the roof.

“But, we’ve got a jumper box at home.”, the man added before getting into the passenger side.

“I could go get it…”

“She’s got to take me to work first…”

“But, I can be back in about twenty minutes.”

“Great. I’d really appreciate that. I just got to town and today is my first day of work.”

“Oh man, I’ll be back. We only live a few blocks from here.”

“I’ll be here. Thanks!”

William George hustled back to the lobby for another cup of coffee.

He stood there, peering out the plate glass window at the sunrise and the building traffic, “This does not bode well for my last trip to Okay City.”

For William George, EVERY trip to Okay City was to have been the last.

He’d grown up 90 miles from the spot where he stood.

1981 had been his first attempt to escape. Again in 1982.

Finally, he thought, he’d made his break and gone to Dallas. Once there he’d started a new life and career.

That career took him first to Selma, Alabama.

Dallas County Texas to Dallas County Alabama overnight.

Eleven years later that career brought him back for a year. At the first opportunity he was gone again for nearly four years.

He had returned to lick wounds and get back on track in 2000 and got stranded in the Okay City for several years.

Atlanta provided a year or so respite until he got angry and quit a job where he was caught up in “Political Crossfire” and budget crunching.

Another year and it was back to Texas. San Antonio, Texas.

San Antonio was the place where he’d long ago decided that if he had to live in the United States of America it would be in San Antonio in the By- God- Republic of Texas.

Back again to Okay City.

Every time it carried a lump of defeat.

‘I can’t do any better.’

‘I can’t make it anywhere else.’

“I’ll have to go back to the Okay City. Goddamn it!”

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rodolfo asked...

what tools I carried with me on the road.

By the time I found myself living on the road I had a couple of things to consider:
What was important and what wasn't.
Weight restrictions. Both the airline limits and my own.

My world shrunk to one checked bag, one carry on bag and a 19 inch Craftsman toolbox.

I had a tremendous advantage though. All of the sites I went to, with the exception of Kenya, were established field sites with at least one mechanic stationed there. That meant I had access to his tools and the company tools there.

I had my roll away laid out with the tools I used most often in the top drawer. The other drawers had say, the rest of my sockets and ratchets etc in one, wrenches in another, and so on.

Since I had already set it up that way I had a head start.

That would have included-
Mirror
Flashlight
Magnet
Ratchet Screwdriver with lots of apexes.
Dikes, 6"
Needle Nose Pliers, 6"
Safety Wire Pliers (The smaller of the two I had.)
12 Point 1/4" Drive Sockets (You can always use a 12 point on a 6 point fastener but not vice versa)
1/4" Drive Ratchet
Ignition Wrenches
Crescent Wrench, 6"
3/8" X 7/16" Ratchet Wrench
1/2" X 9/16" Ratchet Wrench

Honestly, I don't remember exactly what all was in the top drawer at that time.

I laid it all out on a bench next to my little tool box. Then, I took heavy duty 1/2" thick foam and "Shadowed" all of those things in. (Shadowing is where you cut out the shape of the tool from the foam. When you or anyone else look into your box it is obvious if anything is missing. It SUCKS to set it up but it is really nice once it's done.)

Once I had the top drawer stuff done I looked at the space I had and, "Hm, well, I use this a lot too. Oh, I don't use this often but it has saved my butt a time or two. And I'd hate to be with out this."

I think that box weighed 65 LBs.

As to brands, I do like Snap-On. I hate to use their slogan but there is a difference. I prefer them when it comes to tools with moving parts or something I'm going to have to put a ton of torque into.

Craftsman, Cornwell, MATCO, MAC or Snap-On... Get your price list. Hit the pawn shops.

One suggestion, unless you're just loaded, is buy less expensive stuff if you need it to start out and build up from there.

That does two things for you. First, it gets you on the job. Second, once you've upgraded you have a tool to cut down or grind or modify for a particular task. You will be 'making' tools all through your career.

Another good rule of thumb that actually came up today at work, "If you need to borrow it twice you need to buy it once."

I hope this helps. It might be a little vague for you and too specific for everybody else.

One Travel Tip. It seems obvious to me and others. I'm sure it's on plenty of travel websites.

Pack a change of clothes and your shaving kit in the carry on.

When we got transferred to Sicily I tried to tell my wife that. She gave me that, "I know what I'm doing look."

She packed her way and I packed mine.

My luggage got to there with me and hers didn't.

Did I say, "I told you so?"

Are you nuts?!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"I Hold My Ticket... Revision 1

...in my hand.
I hold my ticket in my hand.
I'm headed for the Promised Land."

"Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown"

"I'm lookin' for a Marks-A-Lot to polish my boots..."

I'll be a Son-of-a-Gun if Joe Ely didn't open with "1000 Miles From Home"!!!

I wandered down to the Blue Door last night and caught the late Joe Ely show.

The Blue Door is a VERY small venue. Maybe 120 people max capacity.

So the late show was maybe 70 people...

Joe and one acoustic guitar.

And he played. He played damn near all of my favorites-
"All Just To Get To You"
"The Road Goes On For Ever"
...

I lost track. I was so engrossed listening and watching his hands on the frets.

I sat against the wall on the end of a row that happened to be near a window.

I glanced out and what did I see?

A Full Moon....

"I glanced out the window
at the Joe Ely show

A full moon rising
Elegant and slow.

My eyes
My eyes swoll up
Yes
They did well up

I looked away
and studied the man there
up on the stage

wet eyes watching
every fret and change

I listened as he played
as he talked and
told jokes on Van Zandt
and stories of his life

Couldn't look away
I studied the man there
up on the stage

wet eyes watching
every fret and change..."

OK, Kinda Sophomoric but what do ya expect when I draft a work within a work. The Nada isn't work to me it's a form of expression.

There was a big moon coming up.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Whenever Two Or More Are Gathered

By that I mean, "Whenever two or more guys are gathered."

Ya put two of us together and any thing can happen.

Depends on the chemistry.

Take a hangar deck.

Throw thirty or so guys on five or six airplanes.

You'll see and hear all sorts of things.

If you work your way in and around various groups you'll see and hear even more.

I can only speak FROM the Trades. I can't speak FOR the Tradesmen.

Well, I guess I can speak OF them.

We are a rough, crude, mean, fun loving, ornery, harsh, caring, insensitive, obnoxious, eclectic bunch.

Notice any incongruities there?

There are certain Codes.

"If ya can't hang then ya shouldn't have came." English: You need a thicker skin.

"It's never too late for truck driving school." English: What made you think you could do this job?

"If I ain't screwing with your head it means that I don't like you so stay away." English: Do you really need a translation?

"If I'm Ignoring you see above and stay the blank/blank long way away!"

We are hardest on ourselves first and the folks we care about second and the others we leave be.
One guy is out with 'Shingles'. On the side of his head no less. We are all worried about him. We will all give him hell when he gets back. "We luv ya Brother! We missed ya. BS! Where is your XM radio?"

One of the young guys just bought a Snap-On roll away tool chest. A BIG Snap-On tool box. The damn thing cost more than my truck. He did get a great deal on it. Paid less than I paid for my truck for it. (I have bought cars for less tho.)

There was some 'oohhin' and aahhin' over his purchase.

But!

The majority response went something like this-

"Boy!!! Did you get PERMISSION to buy that box?!", Me.

"Hey Bert! I see ya bought the do it yourself divorce kit!", Sheetmetal Leadman.

"Yer a dead man.", Any Mouse.

There is always verbal abuse. If we likes ya.

It can get physical.

(Not often because honestly it can be dangerous and none of us really want to hurt each other. Scarred for life is one thing but drawing blood is something entirely different.)

In this crowd no matter how old you get passing gas is always a gas.

You're in Korea in the summertime. You and your Knuckle Draggin' buddies have been out all night drinking OB Sky and Soju eating kimche and yakimando...

Next morning you're "feeling so spry" that you wedge yourself in a King Air between the pedestal and the side wall to pull brake master cylinders.

You hear one of your 'buddies' trying to sneak up into the plane.

"Don't You BLANK/BLANK do it!!!"

All you hear is a giggle and the click of the airstair door closing you in.

Or...

While in Korea in the wintertime, Christmas actually and one of your Buddies Wife is coming to visit.

So, ya set up a welcome. Breaking into his hotel room. Sling condoms and rice every, EVERY where. Disassemble the bed and stand it up in the bath tub and hide the hardware. Turn off the heat and open the window. Throw a few decks of playing cards and chips and empty beer cans around for good measure. Giggle like school boys and get out.

(He deserved it. She got even! Among other things, she got the maid to let her into my room where she soaked all of my underwear and stuffed it into the freezer! I forget what she did to the other guys.)

Or...

You're wedged in there inspecting under and behind the instrument panel with your head between the rudder pedals.

You hear someone call your name.

"Don't you BLANK/BLANK do it!"

You hear a giggle and he grabs the rudder and swings it side to side slapping your ears with the rudder pedals.

Or...

You're walking under the wing and don't hear a thing but pulleys and cables as the aileron makes a quick sweep up and down catching the bill of your cap and sending it flying.
(I did NOT do that one!)

Or...

(Those Shiny Boys in the front seats of the airplane aren't much better!!! The good ones anyway.)

I was in a T-39 headed back to Sicily from England. "Hey, (pilot) John what mountain range is that?" John was sitting in the right seat of the cockpit. He leaned forward in a very exaggerated way to look out the left window of the cockpit and says, "I don't know. I can't see the mountains for his nose!"

Or...

A Test Pilot a Mechanic and a Quality Assurance Inspector go up on a post maintenance test flight. The Q.A. Inspector falls asleep.

Test Pilot says to the Mech, "Hold my coffee and watch this!" He proceeds to nose the plane over. HARD nose down attitude AND deploys the oxygen masks in the cabin (where the Inspector is sleeping).

The Inspector wakes up to the plane in a nose dive and panics trying to get an O2 mask on. Pilot and Mech are up front laughing like school boys. They probably passed gas too.

Today I received an email saying a new comment had been added to a post from December.

Hello Rodolfo. If you happen to stop by for this post...

Prepare to have a nickname. Prepare to be handed a hard time. Prepare to keep studying and learning. (You don't want to be a Knuckle Dragger any longer than you have to.) Prepare to scrape sealer and do lubes and anything else nobody else wants to do.

There is no such thing as a 'gallon of prop wash' or ' a hundred feet of flight line' or 'a pad-eye wrench'.

There are grasshoppers, coon dicks and crows feet.

Above All Remember-

"Measure it with a tape. Mark it with chalk. Cut it with a torch. Beat it to fit and paint it to match!"

All kidding aside. I do wish you the best of luck in you life as an A&P.

And the beat goes on...

Today's acquisitions-

"B.B. King Live" A DVD recorded live at his club in Memphis. Go get it!
Taped over several nights B.B. and The B.B. King Blues Band are beyond description.
Lots of repartee' from The King.

"Traffic, The Definitive Collection" CD
There are a lot of songs by Traffic that I really like and have liked for a long time-
"You Can All Join In"
"John Barleycorn"
"Rock 'N' Roll Stew"
"Dear Mr. Fantasy"
"The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys"
"Feelin' Alright?"

Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of say, "Feelin' Alright?" or "Low Spark"?

Next up is another DVD. "In in depth look at the making of 'The Dark Side Of The Moon'."
I haven't watched it yet.

Also, you can never, well, I can NEVER have too much Joe Ely. "The Best Of Joe Ely" 20 songs most all of which I have on other discs. Thing is, he does a lot of different versions.
"Dallas" is on this disc but my fave version is live and kicks off with "Let's jump on a DC-9 and head down to Dallas..."

I know there are at least three other new CD's around here since my last confession. Oh well.

For now I'm switching back and forth and 'round and 'round from Joe to B.B. to Traffic and it's early yet!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

All over again

I had a weird little recollection today.

It can't be called Deja Vu because I mostly remember it.

Mostly.

Today I noticed a neat little clothes pin magnet deal on one of the guys tool boxes. A memo clip I guess.

Now, you have to know that the oddest little thing can remind me of the oddest little thing.

It seems that at some point in my childhood I used a clothes pin in some sort of Boobie Trap.

But, the Boobie Trap that came to mind had nothing to do with a clothes pin (or a magnet for that matter). It wouldn't have worked.

It wasn't that complicated a device.

I remembered rigging an old wind up alarm clock, the kind with the little arch on top and two bells and a hammer. (I can't recall the name of the part of a bell that does the dinging.)

My Grandad, the Sargent Major had an old industrial strength lunch box.

Grandmother fixed him a lunch every morning.

I discovered that the alarm clock had a pretty large tolerance. Meaning, if the hour of the day was within, oh half an hour of the time it was set to go off... well my scheme would work.

See, if the pin was pushed in but the alarm was set for 5 a.m. and you pulled the pin at 5:15 the alarm would go off.

CCCLLLANNNNGACLLANNNGGJANGLEYOURNERVESIFYOURE NOT EXPECTINGIT!!!

So here's my Grandmother trying to raise four grandsons. She was in her mid fifties. Back then, whoa! Back in those days Fifty Something WAS Ancient. She gets up in the morning to fix lunch for the SGT Major, like she did every morning.

She notices the box is a little heavy.

She opens it and...

CCCLLLANNNNGACLLANNNGGJANGLEYOURNERVESIFYOURE NOT EXPECTINGIT!!!

Who was I kidding? She'd seen it all before. Already raised three boys.

I got might have gotten a grin out of her for my effort.

Still haven't figure out where the clothes pin fits in but it might explain why I couldn't get away with ANYTHING for the next six years!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's not every day...





that a legend drops by.

The Beechcraft Starship was revolutionary in it's day and in some ways still is today.

The photos are of one of the 50 production models ever built. One of less than 20 still in existance. One of fewer than ten still flying.

They are all composite construction. (Including the wing which still isn't done today.) The "Glass Cockpit" was scary voodoo in the late '80s but is pretty standard today.(Glass cockpits are like TV screens instead of dial instruments.)

In typical Raytheon fashion, it was mismanaged. The first airplanes were launched at a time when aircraft sales were down all over. Couple that with the radical design and sales were flat. Add to that it was expensive. Numbers vary but say $5 million a copy. Add to that, the damn thing scared the FAA. They had never certificated an all composite airplane and handed down edicts that added 2500 pounds to the thing.

To pour some salt on it Raytheon Aircraft (Parent Company) said, "Hey buy one of these and we will give you free maintenance. For life!" Then, tasked Raytheon Aircraft Services (Child Company) with performing the maintenance.

So what did the Child Company do? Ran up legendary invoices maintaining them. "Hey, it's a complex airplane and difficult to work on." Parent Company bought the story and watched the project go farther into the red.

That earned the Starship a reputation as a "Maintenance Hog" which it supposedly isn't.

That didn't help sales either. In '95 Raytheon pulled the plug and halted production. They took control of as many copies as they could and began to scrap them out. Chopped them up and burned them!!!!!!!!!!

When I spied this one on the ramp this afternoon I began to spit kittens and ran for the camera. Of course, the batteries were dead. Never fear.


GOOD LORD! HE'S GOT AN AXE!

Watch Out Folks! He's armed and dangerous!




At this point the only danger is to your ears!
I've always wanted to learn to play guitar. I've had a few friends and family encourage me to but I never did.
I believe the conversation with The Architect went something like this...
"David, do you know what your problem is?"
"No. (but I s'pose yer gonna tell me."
"Your problem is, you never picked up a guitar."
When I had the chance to pick up a Stratocaster for less than a third of what it would cost me new I attacked it.
Picked up a little Fender Frontman amp at a pawn shop. I've got a stack of books with chords and music lessons. I'm working on my callouses.
OH! Yes, that of course is a Snap-On 11/16's deep socket/ slide.
Ya wanna hear something REALLY scary?
I've got a mic and I know how to plug it in!!!

My name is David and...

I'm a CD-holic.

Whew. That felt good.

It is nearly impossible for me to walk past a CD rack without picking up something.

This week-

"Ultimate Guitar Rock". Not exactly my ultimate 17 guitar songs but it did have a couple of songs I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Rockaway Beach by the Ramones and Sweet Jane by the Velvet Underground.

"Time Takes Time" Ringo Starr is my ultimate Beatle. Weight Of The World, Don't Go Where The Road Don't Go, In A Heartbeat. I love the reference to It Don't Come Easy in Don't Go Where The Road Don't Go. It Don't Come Easy is my ultimate Ringo song.

"Let Me Up (I've had Enough)". Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Jammin' Me, Runaway Train, The Damage You've Done, How Many More Days... It's not Damn The Torpedos but it is a good album.

"Diamond Girl". Seals and Crofts. Classic stuff like Diamond Girl, We May Never Pass This Way (Again), Standing On A Mountain Top. This one rolls back the clock!

"The Best Of Isaac Hayes The Polydor Years". What? A skinny white boy can't have a little soul?

Thirty-Three Days

It's been a looooong time since I pulled 33 days in a row at work.

No complaints here. Good times good checks.

Some of those days were only 4 hours. Some were 11 hours.

Standing on my head. Coulda done the whole thing standing on my head.

Attitude and atmosphere make a world of difference.

I've worked in a lot of different facilities over the last twenty years.

A LOT of 'em.

From shady little outfits to major corporations.

From Cessna 150's to Boeing 757's.

From Nebraska to Panama to Kenya to Korea.

Every one of them different.

Almost all of them I was able to walk in and take off running.

I count three where obstacles met me at the door.

Three out of.... well dozens.

That's not too bad but when ya get into one of those three your world can become a dump.

I could go into a long comparison of the last few facilities I've worked in but I'm not going to do that now.

I will say that the last place was a bust from the beginning. One of my infamous, "It sounded like a great idea at the time.' moments.

Now, as a contractor, a gypsy, a transient it's a whole lotta better.

I walked into this facility. I sought out my point of contact. Ya wanna know what he said to me? First words out of his mouth?! "Get your F*&^%G tool box and get to work."

Ya wanna know what I said?

Not a word.

I unloaded my Snap-On treasure chest and went to F*&^%G work.

I've been busy since.

Up until today I've had 3 days off. Tomorrow will make 4 and with any luck I'll start another run.

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