Thursday, January 31, 2008

You Should Give Him Fair Warning!

Ladies, one of my favorite shopping sites is They can sell you anything from PC controlled robots to binary clocks to caffeinated bath soap, you know, just in case you need enough strength in the morning to make coffee!

Anyway, one of their flyers really caught my eye this morning. They are both funny to me but the bottom one really applies, so I thought I would share the love with you all...

Get yours here and you too can share the love- with fair warning!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Clearly my plan was followed correctly because I drug a major chunk of warm air back up north with me! Really, it’s nothing. Oh, it’s spelled R-O-B-E-R-T if you should decide to name your next child after me.

The weather system that brought all this warm air up north made for quite the wild plane ride Monday! It was seriously rough. Like hit your head on the wall rough! Scary rough! Of course, I mean scary for ‘normal’ people, I am far too manly to squeal in fear! That could never happen! :) (well at least not in an airplane, stepping barefoot on one of the cats “dead mouse” toys though is a whole ‘nuther story! )

Ok, as my 5 regular readers will know I have posted before about how frustrated I get with "amateurs" in the airport security system. You know, people who try to carry on shampoo, or don’t take their laptop out of the bag etc. You know, the WHOLE SYSTEM grinds to a halt every time some moron does not follow one of the (stupid and useless) rules we have had for years now.

So the line behind the x-ray machine grinds to a halt. I am standing there in my socks and holding my pants up with one hand because I don’t have a belt and I was thinking, Ok, what moron can’t handle the silly little rules and held us up all this time?

Then there was that sickening realization when they held my bag up and said, "Who's bag is this?" Oh, yeah, uh, that moron would be ME and my extra bottle of water that I stuck in my bag “just for a minute” because my hands were full then forgot all about!

So now I have to be nicer to all the other morons since I am now officially in the “the club”. You know, that plan I had of tattooing identifying marks on the foreheads of people who grind security to a halt is not sounding nearly as good today as it did last week!

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Quest Continues.

Base camp Charlie, day two, somewhere north of the Arctic Circle (a.k.a. the Mason-Dixon Line)

We lost a few Sherpas to the cold last night but the party’s spirits remain strong as we continue the quest to reach the summit of Mount Springfield.

We continue to learn new ways to cope with the harsh way of life these artic nether regions grudgingly provide to the warm blooded.

For example, I learned this morning that no mater how much slushy crap the car in front of you throws on the windshield DO NOT use the windshield washers when the temps are below zero Fahrenheit. Yeah, I know the bottle of windshield washer fluid SAID it was anti-icing but clearly they have a different definition of the prefix “ANTI” than I do or perhaps they just did not expect humans to live like this either.

Either way squirting your windshield in these temps is a bad idea! In a way, it’s quite lovely how the thin film of “anti”-icing fluid crystallizes as it quick freezes into a thin film of ice just barely thick enough to quite effectively block any forward vision. Those poor Sherpas! What a way to go, run down in their prime by a nerd admiring the crystalline structure of the ice film on his windshield instead of stopping and scrapping the ice off!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Northerners MUST be crazy!

I am in central Illinois this morning. It is -2 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of minus 20. Since the legislators get all the good parking it's a about a four block walk from where I park to the capital.

I have on heavy cotton Dockers pants and it was like I was wearing a bathing suit. That wind just sliced right through them. It hurt to breath, my eyes were watering so bad I could not tell if it was safe to cross the street or not and I swear to God that nose hairs were freezing and snapping off. I could hear them going tink, tink, tink-ta-tink-tink as they broke off.

Clearly the guy who invented that nose hair trimmer thing in the Sharper Image catalog did not live up north because there could be no possible use for it here! It would take a least a year for all those dead hair follicles to re-grow!

You know, male pattern baldness my ass! It’s the weather, it freezes the hair roots!

I think that before I walk back to my car I am going to have to sneak into the women’s restroom and buy a couple of tampons out of the machine to stick in my nostrils. We will save what few follicles that are left!

One of the people who lives here (already established they are insane) heard me commmenting (whining) about the cold told me to man up and grow a pair. Shoot! I had a pair but they snapped off on the walk over! I think they are still on the sidewalk at 2nd and Adams!

Holy frostbite Batman! I am going to the southwest tomorrow so I will get some relief but how do you people live with this all winter?

No wonder you are all nuts! :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blanket Talk

Ok, I am a little anal. I realize how shocking this news may be to some of you but there it is, we all just have to deal with it through our shock.

One of the things that annoy me is when the blankets don't line up. You know, the sheet is over your head but the blanket is below your shoulders kind of thing? Some hotels make the bed up that way on purpose and it drives me a little nutty.

So I have three layers on my bed. Sheet, electric blanket and bed spread. So how in the heck is it that keeping them even is next to impossible?

I get up in the morning and the sheet is WAY off to one side but the blankets are still in the center. The sheet is up over my head, the middle blanket has slid down to my waist but the bed spread is still at my shoulders? How is it possible for them all to move different directions? I mean since it does make me crazy I make it a point that anytime I move the blankets or get in and out of bed I make SURE I am gripping all three layers so they will move together. So how does a sheet move over a foot to one side but the blankets don't? I mean the blankets are on top of the sheet so how can the bottom layer move but not the top layers? How can the middle move in the opposite direction of the bottom layer? It just does not seem possible!

There is just no way this stuff could happen in the normal course of just sleeping! I swear there must be some kind of maniacal blanket elves that come in during the middle of the night and mess with my blankets just to hack me off! I mean what I have I done to so anger the blanket elves? Better yet how can I appease them? I mean I googgled "angry blanket elves" and I got nothing useful so clearly the angry blanket elves have already gotten to the Googgle staff! They probably tormented them into submission by rearranging their blankets too!

It's the end times people! Prepare!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Vampire vs. Frankenstien

Melissa at Hope for the Hopeless asked in part, "If you could be a vampire or Frankenstein which would you chose?"

This one took like two milliseconds to figure out! Who would pick Frankenstein over Vampire?

I mean c'mon, Vampires can fly, they are practically immortal with eternal youth, get to sleep all day and get all the sex they want with anybody they want. (other than flying they are strangely like cats?) I mean the only drawback to being a vampire is trying to comb your hair or for some of you, do your make up, without a mirror. Pfffft. You are going to get sex with anyone you want anyway so seriously, who cares about your hair and make up?

Now, compare that to being a strong but realy ugly, slow, clumsy, freak with a speech impediment, fast temper, a squinty eyed hunchbacked best friend, total psycho dad and a wife who screams (and not the good way) at the very sight of you.

I mean then, just to top it off you have to cope with the whole issue of angry villagers chasing your clumsy ass around at all hours of the night. Shoot, and you thought the Homeowners Association was bad? And seriously, one little windmill fire and you are toast! No thanks man!

Vampire all the way.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Be nice!

When I first got out of the Air Force the economy was having a rough time and the airlines were not hiring. I ended up taking a job at a little FBO. FBO’s are basically service stations for airplanes. I was officially a mechanic but since I was the most junior guy I was also the designated line boy; the gas pumper. “Check your oil sir?” and wash the windshield, you know?

Now, airplanes can get pretty pricy and frankly some (not most) pilots are pretty snobby, stuck up jerks. I would run into them now and again pumping airplane fuel and it was never fun. They could be very much like Merrill Streep's character in "The Devil Wears Prada"

So years later I buy my first plane. This is her, this was my baby. She was old and she was cheap but she was just what a first timer like me needed to learn with. We spent over 600 hours together in the air and she taught me a lot. Sadly, I traded her in for a younger much faster mistress who really eats at my wallet. :(

Anyway, once I became an aircraft owner I vowed I would always treat the line guys right since I remembered well the shit I had to take on occasion. Really, I just treated them no different than any other human. I don’t look down on many people. I would always laugh and joke with them and at Christmas I gave them all gift cards from the sports bar down the street. Nothing big though, just enough for a cheeseburger and a few brews.

So one hot summer day a sudden and violent storm just sprang up out of nowhere as they sometimes do in the hotter part of the Great Plains. The storm only lasted about 15 minutes but it was a doozy. I was on the 31st floor and I could feel the building swaying in the wind. I looked out the window and the trees were bent over and the hail was pummeling the cars on the street below!

My building was pretty close to the airport so I drove over to the airport real quick to see how my darling came through the storm. I pulled into the parking area and my plane’s parking spot was empty! Oh crap! My baby got blown away! Where was she? So I was looking around desperately and right then the supervisor of the line guys comes out in his golf cart and says, “Looking for your plane Mr. Johnson?”
“Yeah! Did the storm get her?”
“Oh no. We saw the storm coming so we put your plane in the big hanger”
Since this place had LOTS of customers and I probably had the oldest, cheapest plane there I was surprised, “Well thanks Don! I really appreciate that bud! How in the world did you ever find room for her in there?”
“Uh…see that blue and white Lear Jet there in front of the big hanger?”
“Well”, Don drawls, “that guy is a huuuuuuge asshole so we pushed his plane outside to make room for yours. By the looks of all the hail dents he won’t be flying for a while, huh?”

Wow, what could I say?

Karma dude, Karma.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Right Stuff

I watched the movie “Space Cowboys” this weekend. Watching Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones flying the space shuttle reminded me of the time I got to fly a shuttle simulator.

Several years ago I loaded the family up in my Cessna and we flew down to NASA’s Johnson Space Center outside of Houston Texas. You know, the “Houston we have a problem” place! Hallowed halls! We stepped into the front door of the museum and in an alcove off to the left they had about a dozen Space Shuttle simulators set up. I immediately veered left as my son rolled his eyes. Even he knew that was as far as we were going until I got my fix!

There was a pretty good line in front of each simulator so I got in the shortest line. All told there are well over a hundred people in all the lines, it was popular attraction. (of course it was, this place is Mecca for nerds!)

Over each shuttle simulator they have a big screen TV so you can see how all the other people flying are doing while you are in line. I was watching and EVERY ONE was crashing! The computer would flash in big red letters “YOU DIED!” I kept watching to see if anyone could pull it off. Absolutley every one was crashing so I vowed I would be the first to land this thing in one piece. After all, I am a pilot I told my self without a trace of humility! :)

So I finally got my turn. They start you off at 20,000 feet and you have to fly the approach to the field and land. The flight director will tell you where to go and if you are on track or not. (just like a standard plane with the right equipment) So I was able to fly the approach very well because other than the glide ratio it flew just like my Cessna. I am getting very close to the runway and I am already mentally celebrating! No one else I watched made it this far! HA!

I was over the end of the runway but still at 200 foot and the flight director started telling me to pull up for landing. Planes almost always land with the nose in the air. I was thinking, no way! 200 foot was too high to get into landing position. I did not want to pull the nose up, run out of airspeed and stall it now! I’ll pull up in a few more seconds!

So, a couple of seconds later I did start to pull the nose up and then WHAM! I hit the “ground”! Since I did have the nose up and we were on the runway the computer said we lived but the shuttle would never fly again. So I was crushed that I did not land it successfully but I could take a little solace in that I did not get the big red YOU DIED message.

I figured out what went wrong pretty quick. In my Cessna I sit about as high off the ground as you would when you are in a pick up truck. However in the shuttle you are like 30 foot above the ground at rest and when the nose is up for landing you would be like 70 or 80 feet above the ground at touchdown. So the flight director was right! I should have started getting the nose up at 200 foot. I work on computers, so I don’t trust them at all but it was right this time!

Ok, I am getting back in line and with that tidbit of knowledge I WILL land the shuttle next time by God! I was still watching and no one else had landed without a YOU DIED yet so I still had a chance to be the first to make a landing where they could use the shuttle again!

I worked my way back to the front of the line and this time I pulled up at 200 foot and I set her down nice and dainty! The big screen flashed “PERFECT LANDING” in white over and over! I was looking around to make sure people noticed my perfect landing!

HA! I was feeling good! I was feeling cocky! I was doing a little celebration dance! Yeah buddy! I am the only one here who can handle this piece of equipment. I am the pinnacle of evolution! Yes, I have the Right Stuff! Yeee haw! (I am the alpha geek!) I can’t wait to hang out with Chuck Yeager!

Then a little reality set in and I told my self, “You know dude, you probably should not be too cocky. I mean, seriously, you are probably the only pilot here.... Well, OK, face it dude, you are the only adult here.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Plumb the depths...

Ok, you may not like it but here is a trip through the bizarre thought processes that are my life and how my mind jumps tracks from one topic to another.

I was out running errands today.

After the garlic robe post and all the comments I thought I should get a micro-plane while I was out. Then I thought if I am going to buy one I really should get it from Sauntering since she sells them. I mean I am the type of guy that will route business (even if it is small) though friends. Then the thought hit, well how would that work without her thinking I might be a creepy internet stalker dude?

So I am thinking yeah but I am NOT a creepy internet stalker dude but how would anyone else know that? I mean as Taj and Jules have repeatedly and gleefully pointed out I am just perverted enough to maybe be a creepy internet stalker dude.  :)

Then I realized I just don't have commitment, the drive, the sense of dedication needed to be a creepy internet stalker dude! I mean that would just be a HELL of a lot of work; traveling all the way to another city then hanging out waiting to just to maybe catch a glimpse. Then following her through traffic. Spending hours and hours sitting in darkened cars waiting for something to happen. Then horror of horrors what if she went to the mall? Like any creature bearing testicles I despise the Mall! What if I had to follow her around the mall for hours while she {gasp} "browsed"! Oh God the torture of it all!

Seriously, someone needs to teach stalkers time management. I mean the whole process is just incredibly inefficient. I think I could write a program that would effectively graph out the inherent inefficiencies in the process.

Then reality hits and now I am kinda bummed that I simply lack the drive and determination to be a successful creepy internet stalker dude. How conflicted is that? I mean I could be bad if I just was not so very, very lazy. :(

All of that mental waste sprung forth unbidden simply from thinking about stopping and getting a micro-plane. {sigh}

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year, New Lesson

Life is an endless learning experience and I learned a brand new lesson today!

Big heavy floppy robes are like electric blankets. I never saw much use for them until I started visiting the vast tundra encrusted reaches of the Illinois winter wastelands. However, no matter how warm and fluffy my robe is I discovered it is about worthless for cooking in!

(Sorry ladies, I have my powerfully rippling keyboard muscles all covered up here. Bummer huh?) :) Like many things I tend to be a little anal about my garlic. I like it minced very fine so that the garlicky goodness permeates every molecule of the food!

So I have this nice little mound of garlic all finely minced up on the cutting board. I turn to get something and my big warm floppy sleeve gets drug right over the cutting board!

Would you believe that big sleeve absorbed about four cloves of garlic? Gone, just gone.

Oh, don't worry about the robe, I am sure that all the dunkings in the sink while I was washing dishes got it all cleaned up. (grrrrr)