Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

The Inevitable Fade of Summer

…comes a little earlier to the distant Pacific Northwest than it does for most of the populated Northern Hemisphere. Fade, it eventually must, nonetheless, witness:


FIrst Signs of Fall in the Susitna River – 2016

This was actually taken during the evening of 9/10. There’s a limit to what one can capture with a cellphone camera through a plexiglas Cessna window in some subtle bumpage at 1000′ AGL.

Via inspirational bump from Rev. Paul


In Absentia

I feel like I’ve lost a friend this week. I didn’t, really, but he’s hung up his blog, and I’ll miss his presence regardless.

The fascinating thing about Borepatch is how our lifelines intersect. I never met the guy in person, yet I could detect a thread of commonality with him through his writing. Professionally, we both operate in similar disciplines – those being in the information security technology space. We both have a connection to the shooting sports (although I never wrote of it). Although our views on politics are not identical, our summary concerns regarding who we are and where we may be headed are very much in sync.

Finally, whether he knows it or not, he is about 40% responsible for my decision to once again own a motorcycle. I never believed this could come to pass, but then came comments from a close pilot friend who went riding, setbacks with a personal project, a few bad weeks at work, and then Borepatch posted this. A few weeks later, a used Harley graced my garage, where it remains today.

Sometimes we think we don’t have any impact on the world around us. But we do, if we take the time to look for those impacts.

I “hung up” this blog in mid 2012. When I started it, it was all about airplanes. Airplanes just make my life go around…I don’t make my living with them, but they’ve always been central to my consciousness and identity. They are what I chose to write about, and I limited it to that.

Why did I stop?

In early 2012, I went through arguably the worst crisis of my 30+ year career. Where I fit in my employer’s organization has always been contentious. The guy I worked for (now retired) had a strong vision of what he wanted his team to be, and my discipline was a key part of that vision. His management saw differently, and it came to a head in the spring of that year. At the end, I had all but thrown in the towel, not just on the job, but on the profession. He just managed to talk me into staying, but damage was done, trust was lost, and scars are still there. I did the right thing by them and my family by staying. But I no longer feel like I belong there, or that I was true to myself. Three years later, I still struggle with it.

That summer, I also managed to injure myself in a rushed bout of stupidity. It wasn’t life threatening (a fractured right heel), but it required surgical repair, the outcome of which was never guaranteed. It wasn’t until early 2013 that I was walking almost normally again; and could have some assurance that I’d have my full life back. Today, it’s doing fine, but I managed to get exceedingly lucky (having a great doctor made it possible too). I’ll never forget the uncertainty, it molded who I’ve become.

Those two events both pretty much kicked the crap out of my muse. I thought I’d get back to writing again, but never did.

Moreover, I am not the same person I was in 2012. Not even close. Our world has changed immensely since then, and I have a much harder edge than I did before. That chlidlike sense of optimism is gone, not to return. I can be optimistic, but I will never be optimistic in the same innocent way.

That said, sometimes the urge to write does take possession of me. It will not be the same as before, but sometimes, things need still need to be said. The thing I’ve discovered about the blogosphere is that there are others out there who we have commonality with. Sometimes, witnessing that commonality is a real comfort in a world rapidly running off the rails. Sometimes other writers validate your thinking, sometimes they challenge it. But the fact that those writers are there, and that they bring so much more depth than shallow left versus right arguments, is a true comfort.

So, I may pick things back up here. I’m thinking about it. If I do, thought, it won’t be the same. It can’t be.

But sometimes, a familiar voice in the wilderness is just what we needed. Let the falling tree make a sound…

Pining for the Fjords

KCHD WX 3/8/2010 1910Z

Two observations about this photo. One is that a range of low mountains in the distance is only partially visible. Two is that there is water standing everywhere.

Central AZ was windy and wet earlier in the week. Mid-day Monday had a thick layer at 4000 feet with the customary AIRMETs for mountain obscuration and ice. VFR crusing in the desert could work, but forget about flying to the high country, or IFR in anything affordable for us working folks (read: airplanes with ice-protection)

Warm days are only a few weeks away, and then the siege of summer heat in the desert begins. While the rest of the country is starting to dig out from under winter, the best part of our local flying season is almost behind us. Come July, I may be looking at this photo wishing I was someplace with mountains, clouds, weather, and water (and floatplanes)…

(No, that’s not a dead Norwegian Blue in the foreground, it’s a live Wichita Red)

Joe Stack – You. Douche.

Thanks for nothing, Joe. By now, most of the world has some strange comprehension of your story. I’m just not going to let this event pass by without a bit of my own invective.

So, you were an engineer that had a problem with professional discrimination. I sure understand that. We techies may be the last bastion of the American Middle Class, but we’re sure disappearing in a hurry. I can relate. I get it.

You had decades of conflict with the IRS, most recent because of a bonehead mistake by an accountant. Lots of folks would sympathize with that.

Banker bailouts deeply offended your sensibilities. Yeah, pretty sure you’re not alone on that one.

And then you decided to make your protest with an airplane…

So instead of doing something constructive to make your point, you decided to assault a few government workers in some building. One dead, another burned, more injured. Guess what? None of these folks made the rules you railed against, that happened a thousand miles away. They were just ordinary people with kids and mortgages, concerned for their future just like the rest of us (and worried about the next aggrieved soul to walk through the door, quite unlike most of us). They were the unfortunate messengers, no more.

But you also figuratively assaulted a half-million other citizens that make up the brother and sisterhood of pilots. Every single one of us, working to protect our cherished privilege to exercise the freedom of flight. Our priceless American Dream.

You disrespected all of us. Charter and medevac and flightseeing pilots. Businessmen with remote customers. Instructors of all kinds, trying so hard to make a living with airplanes, seaplanes, helicopters and gliders. Aerial photographers. Forest fire control pilots. Weekend getawayers. Servicemen and women in base flying clubs. Entrepreneurs working on public access to space. Retired airline pilots. Backcountry cargo operators. Aerospace engineers. Airshow pilots. Crop dusters. And so many more of us yet unmentioned…

Especially for the last nine years, we’ve battled political grandstanding, costly and useless legislation, and all kinds of senseless security theatre, just to protect our livelihoods and passions. You marginalized all of that effort, and us.

What a pointless waste.

To the rest of my half-million compatriots, let’s go flying. While it’s still possible