Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Would Do Anything For Love...

“I would do anything for love”…Well, I have always wondered what Meatloaf would NOT do for love. Cora was asking me if I would do something for her earlier this evening. I began to sing that to her. Then she said the most astonishing thing: “Would you clean the house then?” and, for the first time, the words came with no urging, and I knew exactly what Meatloaf was talking about. “I won’t do that!” and I sang it in tune.

She can be pretty mean, but this picture is of her modeling some of my airsoft stuff...cute and yet, a little menacing!

I subbed at the middle school. It was remedial reading…I kept thinking of remedial potions, but that is Harry Potter…too, bad, too, since I would have had fun shooting flies down with my wand. Alas, there were no wands, and if there were I would likely have been turned into a bat…for the mere enjoyment of the students.

Most of the students were 7th graders with a smattering of 8th graders thrown in. A few were my students from my long term stint as a social studies teacher. As usual, several asked my I did not take the job. I accept that as a normal question now. I answer that they should take it up with the management…in this case the principal.

I picked on a few seventh graders. Usually, I choose the most innocent, best behaved kids in the class. I point them out as trouble makers and they take it good naturedly. If they don’t, I leave them alone. I figure if I can’t have a little fun I might as well be an old fuddy duddy. It is also safe; since the things I might accuse them of are probably things they have never even considered doing. It is funny how kids remember the smallest details, yet, they don’t remember what you intended to teach them. I suppose that is just the way it is, but, a few of them recalled how I might (or might not) have sung to a class. I denied it. I also denied ever having picked on anyone in a previous class. I also deny having subbed ever before, just for good measure. Admit nothing, deny everything!

So, I cleaned off the F-8 Crusader wingtip night before last. I peeled off the Spraylat, unscrewed the screws, and took apart the lamp. I tried to take the bulb out. It is an odd shaped bulb. It was flat on one side, with a reflector coating on the flat side. Made by “Grimes.” I attempted to removed it, but there was a lot of corrosion…old Navy plane, salt corrosion, probably. It broke at the base and I used pliers to remove the base. I think I can mount the wing tip to a piece of wood and add an AC light to it to make a nifty lamp out of it. (Blue tinged, of course.) Should be fun.

I still need to lift my drop tank into the rafters where I hope it will NOT live up to its name.

Cora made mini pizzas…yummy. I sat on my dead ass and basically tried to annoy her without getting up. Surprisingly easy. Still, she let me eat. Must not have annoyed her very much.

Tomorrow I teach Kinders, something I have had in line for a month or so now…specially requested and all. The next day I teach at EVC again. Math this time. Hmmm, I should have a few more of my favorite students in there again.

I guess we will concentrate on cleaning house this weekend. Also, we might be able to borrow the In-laws’ Wii. They managed to find a Wii in a rare instance of luck. They are going to use it for the daycare this summer…the older kids are not easily kept busy. A Wii should do the trick. That does not keep Cora and I from borrowing it, though…HEE HEE HEE!!!!

Well, animal channel has a mongoose show on…it’s actually pretty good…nothing else on.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Brush with a Spoon

This picture was taken a year or so ago...maybe 2. In Seattle, at the Gas Works Park.

So, seems like it is time for a makeover. Well, for my blog. I wanted a counter, and my old one would not do it. I decided I wanted the counter more than that old background.

I worked maintenance today. The main issue was I could have subbed, but I did not have any clothes clean for subbing. I decided to work maintenance. I was soon told that I would be heading a crew to clean out the old middle school. Kids have been breaking in and vandalizing it. I cleaned up A LOT of glass today. But it was nice thinking of things for others to do and then telling them it needed to be done.

We loaded the back of a truck/van with garbage and decided to take it to the dump. I chose the most intelligent new guy to go with me…conversation and the others were a bit weird. Really, I wonder where my boss digs them up. One was a farmer. One was an ex-employee at a local grocer. Another was likely a white supremacist, but I did not ask. Another was an oddball, showed up and offered to shake my hand, but with his hand significantly higher than necessary. It was roughly at his shoulder height. He then saluted me, turned and did what I told him. Sort of. Apparently he was directionally challenged. He used words significantly larger than necessary, and usually out of the normal school employee’s lexicon. Instead of saying, “great!” he said “cheers.” Instead of saying, “That sounds like a good idea.” Or “I agree.” He decided the single word, “Concur.” Said as a statement, was the right thing to say. He came dressed in some sort of black combat fatigues…no hair on his head, except for a scraggly goatee. The entire time I got the feeling he was trying to impress me with his vast vocabulary and giant intellect…unfortunately for him, I was unimpressed. I had him pull weeds…well, everyone did that…but I laughed internally that he was doing it. Later I found he has a Sociology degree…which I think, now, I would put just below a history degree for utility.

Cora is going to slip soon and give up the location of the spoon. I will have it! I WILL!!!

We had BBQ smoked chicken, broccoli, and stir fried asparagus. Then I went back to my chair and continued to feed upon the 3 lb bag of M&Ms. M&Ms with peanuts. I doubt I have more than two lbs left.

Cora was texting Kim…or IMing…instant messaging? Anyway, she seemed to be having a good time…

Well, I got a call from my favorite teacher today. She asked me if I could sub for her from 5-7 through 5-9. I told her I could. That fills my entire week. I have two others that I will be teaching Monday and Tuesday. That will be nice. They are all over at Moxee Elementary. That’s my favorite school.

Cora and I have different techniques for loading the dishwasher. Mine is more efficient and I can fit more dishes in that sucker and get them clean than she can. I think it is a male thing. It involves special reckoning and visualization. Males are good at that. I am not sure what women are good at…probably whining…:-) LOL! I am just joking, Cora is pretty awesome, I just wanted to see if I could annoy any females that might be reading this.

Well, I have to go find Cora a brush…for the dishes…because you can’t wash dishes without a brush…must be a scared brush…with mystic powers…maybe it will disappear...maybe it will go to be with the Spoon.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Jobs and Magic Spoons!

Life is a dilapidated building...well, I took these back in November.

HI! Well, I have known that I need to get my grad degree this year or before next Spring. I have NOT read the fifty allotted books, yet. I have started the dominoes falling, though. I contacted my professor this evening. And he seemed genuinely happy to hear of my potential return. On the plus side, I will only need to take 2 credits. So, there is a happy job for me.

I also need to get off my dead ass and find a job…apparently, our babies don’t come free, and I need to contribute to that...not to mention that insurance is not free and, well, there are numerous other reasons…I might also add that job finding is not something I…well, it is not fun. Hmmm, another happy job.

I took care of the Kinders today. As usual, kinders are a bucket of fun. This was a bi-lingual class. Spanish today…I did my best, and they seem to like teaching me.

I took the garbage from the shed to the dump today. Not a horrid job, but not terribly pleasant.

I made dinner tonight…that is something I enjoy. Tri-tip roast, Carrots, and Broccoli.

Tonight, I very nearly pulled the wool over on Cora…well, I got REALLY CLOSE! I managed to bluff her into believing that I had found the Adoption Spoon. Usually she can catch me in a lie, but tonight, well, lets just say, I could have been up for an Oscar had I been on film. She actually believed me! All I did to start this was to say, CASUALLY, “you know I love you, Right?” She began to freak a little. Then she began to give me a few clues to its location, when I thought I had enough, I jumped up and fled to the location of the Adoption Spoon…unfortunately, I seem to have been jumping the gun. She then caught on that I did not have it…obviously, THAT did not require a degree in Rocketry or Aeronautics or Psychology. Oh, well. It spooked her and I hope to catch her as she moves it to a new location. Now, THAT is a HAPPY JOB!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Regurgitation Explanation

Just a picture of a local landmark...I am fond of it for its rustic-ness?? Rusticity? Rusticocity? farminess.

So, last night we celebrated our one year LID.

This morning our beloved city held its free dump day. We managed to get a few things out and they took them away. Then we went to town had lunch with Cora’s sisters, got some pulleys from Lowe’s Hardware and came back. We then gave our shed some Ipecac, and it regurgitated its contents. We then organized them, rearranged, and put them back. We withheld a few items to be given to Goodwill or sold at a yard sale. I can’t believe how much crap Cora hangs on to. She has tools, just plain wood, teaching materials she MIGHT use someday, an auxiliary aircraft fuel tank, ancient cameras, and tons of old National Geographic magazines she never looks at! I can’t believe the things she collects! It’s embarrassing. But, because I love her, I allowed her to keep most of it.

The result of the shed regurgitation was that both of us are exhausted!

Cora’s sisters came to her parents yesterday, so we visited. Her parents wanted out of their storage unit. All of us were drafted. We had to help remove their stuff…and work and slave…well, I suppose that’s what kids are for. So, we got some exercise from that, too…no wonder we are tired.

Toby helped us in the shed. There were some traces of rodents and he spent a lot of the time digging test holes, sniffing, snorting (because he had inhaled dust), digging a little more, getting in the way, and in general doing his part.

Cora found that you can send your pictures to Costco and make a book…like, apparently a hardbound book…we are going to try doing it with our Arizona pictures…I think it would be cool.

Well, that’s it for now. Neither of us feel like eating much, so no dinner tonight…just a number of snacks and whatever we can glean from the fridge. Tomorrow? I suppose I will attempt to Gypsy Proof the back yard…stupid dog.

Oh, my in laws got a Wii today! Guess where we are going on the weekends they go fishing!

I think I will close with just a few pics of F-105s that I have known. As a fighter it may not have been the most maneuverable, but it was FAST! They were built to deliver a nuclear payload as fast as possible, they were not made to win a dogfight. Some sources indicate they could outrun an F-15 when they were on the deck and clean! I love 'em.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Need a New Blog...

Huey Lewis and the News may have had it a little better. I just wanted to alert my regulars…yeah, that’s all three of you…that I have another blog. It is devoted completely to aviation archeology in Washington. I doubt my regulars will be terribly interested…but, you never know. I noticed that most other states have sites devoted to the subject. I hope that mine will help with the subject. I suspect a regular site might be better for that, but, as I am notoriously NOT internet savvy, this platform will have to do in the interim.

I subbed for 2nd graders today. I enjoyed them, but tomorrow I am back to the High School. Gym class…yippee. That is meant with significant sarcasm, since I am also notoriously known for my inactivity. I drew some pictures for the kids and joked with staff today. It was nice.

Hmmm, I was just watching the news, apparently Benton City will be holding an open dump day, but they request that no explosives or radioactive materials be left…uh…is that really necessary to say? Anyway, if you have explosives just lying around, don’t you think you would just be aching for the 4th of July to come around? I would be!! And, as for radioactive material…well, couldn’t you trick some stupid terrorists into buying some harmless Cesium or Americium? “Yeah, Even though we just took it out of the smoke detector…you can make a bomb out of it! See, the Geiger counter just budged!”

Well, a new episode of Lost is on tonight.

Oh, and tomorrow we will celebrate one year of being Logged In to China. Only five or six to go. OK, maybe not that long, but it sure seems like it. (warning: Bitch-fest ahead skip if you like) I really like kids, and they seem to like me…seems like I should have one of my own, I think I would be pretty good at it. Seems like others get kids with significantly less experience and training…and look at me, I am a teacher! I know, you are all going to be supportive and tell me it won’t be that long, yada yada yada, I am not looking for that, I just want to bitch a bit. The wait sucks. There is nothing I can do about it. That sucks, too. Cora will make a great MOM! But, she has to wait. That sucks. I love my wife, and I hate that I can’t fix this. That REALLY SUCKS!

OK, time to lighten the mood. I told the kids a joke today. They did not get it. See what you think: A piece of string walks into a bar (I told the kids “Café”) and wanted a drink (I told the kids a sandwich) and the bartender (Kids got: waitress) said, “We don’t serve pieces of string in here!” So the string went out to the side walk and was crying, when a stranger came up and asked him if there were anything he could do for him. The string said, “Yes, could you tie a knot in me and fray me at both ends?” ( the kids did not know what the word FRAY meant, I elaborated) So the stranger did so. The string, now with a knot in him and his ends frayed, walked (believe it or not, the kids did not ask how a string walks...would have been top of my list, plus, do strings really talk, let alone eat?) back into the bar (Café) and asked for a drink (sandwich), the bartender (waitress) said, “Hey, are you that piece of string that was in here earlier?” The string says, “No, I am a frayed knot!”

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Greatest Gift!

So, sub duty today. Enjoyed the heck out of it. I subbed for a 1st grade teacher today. Last night I was still up near midnight and still there was no job. This morning there was a comedy of computer errors. Well, first it was my own error…I hit the snooze button. It froze the first thing off. I rebooted. (do we still use that word?) It took ten minutes for the damned computer to come up again. By that time it was 623AM…I thought, “There is NO WAY there is still a job up for me…” Well, guess what! I was wrong. As soon as it came up, there were two sub jobs open. One was a half day, the SPED teacher at TH had requested me( I have not yet subbed for her, but I assume she heard about me from the SPED teacher at Moxee, and has since put me on her list of requested subs). I looked at the other, it was a full day. That teacher, I later learned, was putting in time as a vice principal at the middle school…for the next three days.

I took the latter. I met my students, and began to get a sense of what I was in for. It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound. At the beginning of the day, I am watching them just as much as they are watching me.

When I got there and read the directions, I noted the teacher left a note for NANCY. Then, later, I kept getting questions. “Are you here all three days?” I began to get the idea that I was not the one they expected. I was somewhat worried I had taken another sub’s job.

I had a good day. We went to a “program practice,” for the last hour and twenty minutes of the day. It was like herding grasshoppers (that is even more difficult than herding cats). Finally the day was over, though. I left my notes for the teacher and what I figured would be tomorrow’s sub. Then I went to meet the teacher who has me set for tomorrow. When I walked back in, though, there was the teacher I had just subbed for.

She asked me if I was going to sub for her tomorrow? I said, no, I was taken. So, then she called the sub that had originally signed up. No answer. She asked me to be open to changes in the morning. I may be subbing for her (instead of the one who had originally requested me). Fine, so long as I have a job tomorrow. Teachers don’t like to have multiple subs, they prefer some semblance of continuity for their kids.

They seem to like me there at the elementary. I know I always say this, but it still baffles me. What am I doing right? Must be something. But, what? I guess I should not let it bother me. I should just accept it. Still it makes me happy.

Some migh save, teaching is the greatest gift...I disagree! Read on!

So, Cora’s birthday was yesterday. Her Dad must REALLY love her, because he took a piece of the fish he caught this last weekend and smoked it and then gave it to her (and by extension, me!). We both love his smoked salmon and steelhead. This is special, though. It is SPRINGER! Springer is a salmon…Chinook, I am pretty sure…and it is so fresh to freshwater, it still has all the fatty tissue and yumminess that you would expect to find in an ocean salmon…yet, well, it is an indescribably yummy taste…I don’t like fish, but I love SPRINGER!!!!!!!! This is the Cadilac, the Lexus, the Filet Minon, the caviar of foods…it is a Northwest treasure. My father-in-law creates an indescribably perfect jewel of food…OH, SWEET YUMMINESS!!!!!!!! There is no way you can repeat the experience, especially when it is this fresh! It just came off the smoker! It is still warm and obscenely yummy.

This was a good day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

31 flavors?

Cora’s Birthday!!!! She is thirty-one, and looks great!

I am 34…yeah, well, older men are hot…right? Damn, I suppose I am not old enough, yet! I can never get it right.

Deadliest Catch is on!! NCIS is on!! Life is good.

We ate dinner at Ki Ki’s restaurant, a Chinese restaurant in Yakima. It was GREAT!! Finally found a decent Chinese restaurant in town!! I was filled up half way through it. I brought it home. Then Cora and I went to Horton Hears a Who! It was a great movie. I highly recommend it!

Now it is a nice evening of wine and television. We tried some Ecco Domini, an Italian Merlot…it tasted of vinegar. We changed immediately to Columbia Crest merlot.

I painted for the maintenance dept. today. In the bathroom I took my paints and painted a mouse hole, complete with a mouse looking out of his hole. I think it was appreciated. I am still watching subline, but nothing yet. I must be a little slow on looking at it.

Cora, Happy Birthday! I love you!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Skittles and Merlot

So, Cora felt like Hot Dogs the other day. We got, instead a sort of Polish, er…German…well, Eastern European sausage. I put that in with a head of cabbage. I boiled the hell out of it (yes, you would be surprised at how much hell manages to find its way into the average head of cabbage, that is why you must boil it out!) We threw loads of butter on and some salt…yummy!

We are having skittles and merlot, now…not necessarily what the wineries suggest as a wine accompaniment, but, it seems to work on our palates. I think I may go catfish noodling tomorrow and marry my cousin, too. Well, slow blog day…

Cora turns ancient tomorrow! We should celebrate!

Military Conveyance

We went to my parent’s last night. Bought them dinner and forced them to look at our Arizona pictures…well, when we got to the airplanes it was not hard to keep my dad’s attention and my mother seemed to enjoy the pictures of Sedona. I gave my mom a bowl from AZ and some cactus seeds. I gave my dad a turbine blade. Yes, from a jet engine. It was nice to go down and see them. We have not gotten a chance to go down there for awhile. So it was good to go for a visit.

So, I notice that Prince Harry is in the news for his antics with a Royal Helicopter…everyone seems to think it is awful. My question is, if you could, wouldn’t you? Jeez, I’d have done that. Land in the girlfriend’s backyard? Why the hell not? Drop the little brother off at a bachelor’s party? Sure!!! It’s TRAINING! You know for those real world events when it is highly desirable, for matters of national security, to drop in on friends and neighbors. Awesome. How many of our own airmen have taken an aircraft for a “training” mission and ended up in familiar territory? Probably more than we realize.

This is a Bell UH-1 Iroquois (aka Huey) Pima.

I got a batch of accident reports from the USAF! One of them was an A-24 target tug that crashed in the vicinity of the freeway and Lmuma Creek up on the firing center. I doubt there are any remains…but it would sure be interesting to go and see.

The weather is…well, NORTH WEST, that is to say, freezing at night and somewhat less cold during the day. In the twenties last night. I hate the cold. I am ready for some warmth. It is hard to grow cool plants in such cold weather.
Also of note: Cora's Birthday is tomorrow. She got the laptop for that early...but I may have a surprise or two lined up. If you get the chance give her a call and let her know it's ok to get old. Kind of hard to stop, really.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


So, it is 420…I believe that is the way they write it. Check out some more info, both the true and the false here.

· Hitler’s birthday 1889 (hip, hip, hoo---ya know what, screw him, he doesn’t deserve a happy birthday wish)
· In 1862 Louis Pasteur begins pasteurization tests (did you know there are invisible organisms that live in our food!?)
· Pierre and Marie Curie refine Radium Chloride (Really, Pierre? I asked for a martini!)
· In 1918 Manfred von Richtofen (Red Baron,WWI ACE) shot down his 79th and 80th kills (shortly thereafter he himself was shot down and killed…some days it just pays to stay home.)
· Hitler went to the surface for the last time to award iron crosses to boy soldiers in 1945 (hmmm, I am still mad at him about the holocaust.)
· Bay of Pigs invasion becomes a failure in 1961. (well, maybe they should have planned to invade a bay that wasn’t full of pigs. Their landing boats were built to go through water…not pigs.Any fool could figure that one out)
· In 1972, Apollo 16 lands on the surface of the moon…(or does it? Some idiots still believe it was a hoax…I saw them attempting to disprove the moon landings on the history channel…some people have a lot of fracking time[Frack=word from the new Battlestar Galactica series, used as an expletive, useful in mixed company here on Earth])
· Columbine shootings took place this day. :-(
· The Baha’i Faith begins “Ridvan”(…whatever that is…it came up on the screen, I can only assume this is the day that people of the Baha’i Faith are allowed to sell their vans. )

Oh, and it is snowing right now. Cora walked out in the living room and pointed it out to me. I looked out the window and sure enough. Big Fat Flakes. Looks like we will be avoiding work outside this morning. Darn, I was so looking forward to physical activity. I suppose I shall have to put up with my eventual body shape resembling Jaba the Hut.

Given my proclivity for posting, I will probably post again. Snow. Hmmm.

On April 20, 1967, C-133 #90534 crashed just off Okinawa. The C-133, you will remember, is one of the aircraft I have blogged about. Still reading that book...very good.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What Great Things!

Look at that, my wordiness and wandering fingers have helped me create 50 posts, with this being 51. (I can hear the wind machines now, they've just turned on. It is midnight. Must be chilly out. Sorry, passing thought...) So, I have written 50 posts...hope you are not bored yet. I celebrate with this little poem I wrote tonight. It is about the F-100. The Super Saber. First production aircraft that could break the sound barrier in level flight. Unfortunately, that was in afterburner. Afterburner uses ALOT of fuel, which is dumped directly into the exhaust chamber. One gentleman told me, and I have little reason to doubt him, though I have never seen anything to back him up, that the F-100, with its J-57 engine in afterburner would use up its entire fuel capacity in 11 minutes. It makes sense, since it does take ALOT of fuel to create that extra thrust. So, with that in mind, I offer you this poem, written from a pilot's point of view.

Super Saber Sizzle

Darting upward in dizzying light,
A shaft of silver, an arrow in flight.
I shimmer through with dazzling flare,
And aim for clouds, unsettled air.
The J-57 gives a mighty roar,
Burner lights, and I begin to soar!
My frosted steed is steady between my legs
As I willingly scoff at the regs,
Turn my tail groundward and stall,
Dismiss all sensation as I begin to fall,
Drop the nose earthward and wait,
Check wings level and fuel state,
Pull on around and head back where I’ve flown.
If I run out of gas, I’ll be walking home.

By: Jim R. Huffman

Ya Know I Love You, Right?

So, I worked hard yesterday. Sweated with the effort of teaching and molding young minds. Despite my exhaustion, I did not go straight home after work, even though I wanted to. I decided to get supplies from town. I stopped at the store of necessity (read liquor store) and the grocery store, where I also got necessities, like sweets and chocolate and ice cream and even some vegetables for dinner.

All day, at the back of my mind, there was the threat Cora had issued toward my beloved Adoption Spoon. A spoon I had carved several years ago. I had attempted to approximate an African carving look. Cora has not liked it, ever. I inserted a nail in the back of it, to allow it to hang on the wall. Cora has not been receptive to this ART PROJECT in the least. In fact, she has questioned its reasons for existence. To which I responded by calling it a Fertility Spoon. It obviously has not worked.

I recently found it in one of my drawers, and knowing Cora’s deep fondness for it, put it on the wall. It was next to the front door. I did not pay close attention to it, since she said nothing about it. Though, it did disappear. I rediscovered it in another drawer. I clutched it to my chest and decided the best place for it was next to the toilet. Ever appreciative of public relations, I rechristened it “Adoption Spoon.” When she came home, I decided to remind her, should she ever forget, “You know I love you, right?” She was immediately suspicious of me ( I will never understand why)

Cora has blogged about it at “littlemisswhatshername.,” though, I believe she has blown some things out of proportion. Specifically, she calls it hideous. She screamed and removed it. A little later I found it again. This time I put it in a much more conducive place, where its mystical adoptive powers might work better; directly above her side of the bed…on the ceiling. She removed it promptly. Once again, I recovered the mystic spoon. I waited until she was at work and placed it at the apex of our ceiling on the wall.

So, these things were at the back of my mind while I was in town. At a height of approximately 9 feet, I suspected it was pretty safe, but Cora is pretty resourceful, and more than a little diabolic. I know she usually gets off work around 430 or 500PM. So, she does not arrive home until about 500 or 530PM…usually. I left the school at about 335PM. I rushed to the store of necessity. We have been running low on said necessities…and for crying out loud, it is the weekend. I got said necessities and then headed for home. I looked at the clock and then thought back to the previous night. I had had a sweet tooth and we had very little to solve said tooth. The clock showed about 10 minutes after 4PM. Cora would not be home for awhile yet, my spoon was probably safe. I headed for the grocery store. I quickly got the veggies, sweets, and ice cream, bantered briefly with the checker and sped for home.

Ah! I entered the outskirts of town and it was just 438PM. Cora should not be home for awhile. I got to our street and began my turn…”Ahhhh, Crap!” My beloved wife was home already! Usually this was a blessing. Today, however, I worried for my spoon.

She opened the door with a smile on her face. I don’t believe it was because she was happy to see me. More likely, her smile involved her activities in redecorating. She asked me if I had checked my voicemail. I had not. A look up to the apex of the ceiling. The spoon was gone. She gave me some cockamamie story about Mormons and their taking of my beloved spoon…I doubt her truthfulness.

I unloaded the groceries, then checked my voicemail. It was Cora. “Ya know I love you, right?”

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dr. WHO!? Robin Hood? Straightjacket?

Dr. Who is NEW!! I am SOOOOOO Happy! He is the coolest. He got stuck on the Starship Titanic. Guess what happens, no, not an iceberg. It was a sinister plot…as usual, but the Dr. is here to save the day. Nine hundred three years old and always taking on the bad guys. If that isn’t awesome…well, I won’t believe you if you offer me anything else.

Soon, Robin Hood comes back, too! No, not Kevin Costner. That wonderful channel, BBC has a show called Robin Hood. I have watched it since it came on last summer. It starts with Robin coming home and finding an evil sheriff in the place of the regular fair sheriff. Also, Prince John is in London. King Richard is still off fighting those awful Saracens. Anyway, Robin Hood is a bloody genius with a heart of gold and a sense of humor. It is a very good show if anyone is interested. I highly recommend it.

I subbed for a kinder class today. They were very nice. They were doing very good in line, so I took them for a fun walk…they followed my foot steps. Right angle turns, swerves and curves…it was all fun. I kept hearing giggles from behind me, but every time I looked back there were smiles on their faces and the line was stretched out in the path I had laid. They had been studying the ocean this week, so I was able to relate my sad tale to them. This afternoon, I took a little time and drew 21 fishes, sharks, rays, and a jelly fish, then gave them to the children to take home and color. They seemed happy. I also left a pretty drawing of an angel fish for their teacher, expressing my thanks for her request that I sub for her.

Speaking of which, the new computer system allows teachers to say they don’t want a particular sub, or whom they would prefer to have teach their classes. I have noted on this blog that there are several teachers who request me to teach their classes. I have also noted, though not publicly, until now, that I have taught at EVERY school, except one. For some mysterious reason, I have not seen any jobs come open for the middle school…where I taught long term. The place where they granted me a complimentary interview, but apparently thought someone else was better. I am o.k. with that, but what bugs me a little is that the entire school has either put me on their do not choose list, or the school has been somehow placed off limits to me. I doubt I would take a job there anyway, but it is the principle of it I suppose.

My beloved wife has been on You Tube all night. You might think, if you did not know her, that she might be watching the latest Colbert Report clips, or the David Lettermen Top Ten; not my wife. NO. She is watching clips of, prepare yourself, and if this does not qualify her for the fast lane to kid-dom I don’t know what does, oh, and did I mention steady your self and hang on: She has been watching clips of Sesame Street. NO KIDDING! I am serious as a heart attack! I am as serious as Grover is crazy. I am as truthful as Bert and Ernie’s relationship is questionable! Just now she was repeating the alphabet. I think she might be going a little bonkers…well, I do have to admit, the Madonna cover of “Living in a Cereal World” was pretty cute. And the James Blunt song, “Triangle,” was pretty good. “I saw your shape in a crowded place…a triangle, a triangle…” pretty good song. Well, I think I hear a van full of men in white jackets pulling up outside, I had better let them in.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"O," Torture!!

Well, Cora is torturing me for my misdeeds. She is watching Oprah. I am too lazy to go to the other room, and I really DO love my recliner. The show is on leaving a smaller footprint…you know, being eco sensitive. This family was supposed to live without going out (ooh, what’s that?), with only one hour of TV (perish the thought), and no computer (absolute heresy!). There were also things like using cloth towels instead of paper towels (what’s supposed to fill up the garbage can?), and recycle (I feel I give the trash man…garbage man, waste-removal man… sanitation worker a purpose in his life, you think I could take that away from him? Are you insane? That’s just mean.). Admittedly, we could all do a little more for the environment, but some of that stuff is plane crazy. I think that some of it is almost as bad as freegans…you know, people who dumpster dive for dinner, even though they are Dr.s, Lawyers, or engineers. Yes, I acknowledge that a lot of the food they find looks perfectly good, but come on! Do you really trust store employees not to put bad things in with the good? I don’t. Mainly because I once was one of those store people who emptied the trash. I worked at Home Depot and took great delight in making sure the toilet I threw in the compacter made a lovely cracking sound. Or the light bulbs…or any number of the things we were told to throw away, simply because the supplier/manufacturer did not want to pay for shipping. Perfectly good lawnmowers, slightly chipped light fixtures, and of course the plants that just needed water, all went down the chute. Company policy. Maybe we should tighten up on the big consumers, like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, Safeway…whoever throws things out that should or could be used elsewhere! Who cares whether you lose a little profit! Shame on you corporate America! Now, I am going to surf the net, watch TV and eat off of Styrofoam plates. Oh, yeah, maybe I will open the window and turn on the heat.

Ok, that’s out of my system, mostly because of Cora’s choice of programming. I taught today. Sped. There was a menagerie of missteps and unhappiness during the assembly. I had to walk one of my kids out. The Principle took it from there. Then, fortunately I was out of the way, I saw a girl leave the award line and head for her teacher…she did not get far when she vomited…on others. Wow!! School is entertaining. I went for the custodian, so I did not see the rest, but I am sure it wasn’t that bad. BRAGHHHHH!!!!

The rest of the day went well.

Also, I paid for the Mazda. The guy would not take my money until I said something about what I felt would be a fair deal. I just wanted to be quit of it. So, we stood for three or four minutes in silence…well, comparative. He was asking about the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Finally, he said, even though, I owed $200, he would drop it to 150. I said, I thought $100 sounded better, so we agreed on 125…mainly because he noted that he lost 25%(is that right?) because it was credit…I now think it was probably more like .25%, but that did not occur to me then. Oh, well, it is done. Now we can tow it home.

Tomorrow, I teach again. I got a chance to meet my class for tomorrow. They are great. Their teacher is great, too. You know? I like all the teachers that ask for me by name. It means they seem to think I am doing o.k. with their kids. Having had my own class for a short time, I know what that is like. I still see my kids…well, I call them my kids, even though, I was only their social studies teacher, and I was only that for a couple months. I grew attached to them. I got to know them. I also went to their defense on a few occasions. I wanted a decent sub for them the day I went to tour the B Reactor at Hanford. You don’t want an asshole to sub for you. yet, you want the kids to do their job. It is a balance.

We had pork chops tonight. BBQ chicken last night. Both turned out pretty good. Well, I suppose I am out of interesting stuff. I did not finish painting the break room, though, I did leave them a little gecko painted on the wall…wonder what they had to say about that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Deadliest Catch...

The aged one has spoken. The old, long-winded, train-chasing, lawnmower loving, grandchild-spoiling, son-torturing father has written a comment on my blog. This is a momentous day. He wanted to see my pictures, but only slowly took the step of actually looking at the few I have posted on-line. I am so proud! I shall reward him by showing him the whole shebang when I get the chance.

There is another reason that this is a momentous day. The new season of Deadliest Catch began tonight. Over the years we have become increasingly fond of this Discovery Channel show. By we, I include Cora only incidentally, it is unclear whether she enjoys it quite as much as I do, though, I would never say that she does not, since she seems to have no issues over me watching it.

Today, I worked maintenance and painted. It was not a bad day, except for one thing. The dogs escaped…again. The city dog catcher knows my in-laws, and he knows my dogs belong over there, if not in my yard. He took Toby to my mother-in-law, she called Cora. The dog catcher called my father-in-law. My mother-in-law called my father-in-law and my boss. Cora called me. It was about 930 when everyone began to tell me the dogs were out. Oh, sweet joy.

It is a wonder the dogs survived. It was, indeed, a deadliest catch...the dogs should not have allowed me to catch them. they wallowed in the misery of being caught.

Monday, April 14, 2008

So Classy, I Had Two!!

I had a fun day. I had sat beside the computer waiting for a job all night and all morning. I was dressed and ready to go paint the maintenance break room. Then the phone rang. “Jim, you have been requested”…What? I asked myself, I just looked at the damned computer…I took a step, oh. Yep, there it is. It had come up in the past thirty seconds. Oh, and there was a second one. I told her yes. I looked at it after I hung up and realized it was a half day, but so was the other one. I checked to make sure they meshed. They did. High School in the morning and Elementary in the afternoon. Good day.

The high schoolers greeted me with mixed affection…some dramatic, OHs and several energetic YES’s! Then the teacher came in and I left for the elementary. There, the teacher asked me my opinion on what to do for the day. They were loud, but I enjoy 2nd graders. The day was long, but nice.

We had baked potatoes tonight…with real bacon…have I mentioned that Bacon should be its own food group? Yes, that is why I have a nicely shaped belly…the envy of men in many third world countries. We used green onions that had been in storage for probably a month now. We used that vacuum glad bag thingy…they are still fresh!!! The only difference is they have a slightly stronger flavor. The sour cream MUST be piled on. I like it. Cora insists on cheese…cheddar is better…more is better than that. I think I cooked a half pound of bacon. What joy!

We have Dish network. We apparently have a neighbor that does too. Over the last year or so we have had battles. The remote controls for them are VHF, so you don't have to be in the same room as the receiver. And, if the remote is on the right channel, you could, theoretically, control the neighbor's tv. Our neighbor seems to take great pleasure in screwing up our tv...or course, we probably return the favor, unknown to us. You can tell he is checking things because the screen comes up and starts flipping. If you are not fast with your control, though, he will change your channel...You should hear the words that come out of Cora's, well, I am an angel, and would never dream of uttering a dirty word...ever.

Here are two pictures of a B-47. this aircraft allowed the US to claim intercontinental nuclear delivery capability. This one had an addition to the bomb bay...that bulge in the belly, depending on the model could carry men or equipment or both.
The hatch on the bottom of the nose is the hole through which the navigator/bombadier blasted down through when he ejected. The little bubble thingy on the very nose had an eyelid that flipped up so the bombadier could look through it and see where they were going and/or identify the target for a visual bombing run. There were just over 2000 of this type built. The last one flew in its current home of Castle Air Museum. B-47s had a wonderful run, and there were so many of them that stories about them are rampant...a nice thing if you like those kinds of stories.

Well, now that I am home from AZ, I have little to say. Right now, though, I am attempting to avoid the wrath of Kim… :-)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gunfire on the River Banks.

HI all! I would have posted sooner, but I was helping Cora adjust and fix some pictures we took on vacation. Seems the subjects were standing under a red/pink light. It took us awhile, but it still looks yucky. A recent discovery of ours is: If it doesn’t look good in color, try black and white. We did.

I awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning…well, I awoke. It was oh dark thirty…well, the sun was up and it was actually 730, but I could have slept another hour. However, our airsoft group had a meeting with the Kent airsoft group. They came all the way over here to play against us and we felt it necessary to show them a good time. Our group leader…the guy who set it up (I got him into it)…called me last night and said, “they have real ghillie suits!” I wanted to ask exactly what he called what I wear…I did not.

I got there at the appointed time…well, early. I began taking grass and weeds and putting them into my suit. It looked very much like a patch of ground that you could wear. If I stayed still, no one would ever find me…except, I have difficulty just sitting there when there are guys to shoot. They took a long time to show. We had fun. We only had two games. The guys from the West Side had some awesome weapons. My little UTG Warhawk AK-47 look alike was pathetic next to their sniper rifles and other automatic weapons. I spent $160 two years ago…these guys probably spend twice that…more, probably, every year. One of them gave one of our guys an entire gun…just gave it to him. His once vicious .45 cal was not shooting particularly well this morning and the guy felt sorry for his East Side Ass. I got plenty of compliments on my ghillie. Our illustrious leader had unfounded fears…it is hard for their green ghillies to blend into brown. I only got one guy today. I got got only once. So, odds were even for me.

Cora called about 2 to ask why I was not home at one like I had promised…I was on a river bank, pinned down by gunfire…well, I don’t think they even shot at me….

Well, Cora continues to slave over photos…J

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Health and Pictures

Well, I got a ton of sleep and Cora babied me a bit. I am feeling better...not quite 100% yet, but better. She seems to think I gave too much information on my previous blog...I resent that remark: I never gave indications of volume, texture, color, or smell. So, she should be pleased about that.

Here are a few more pictures:

First, I will show you some of the FIRE BOMBERS. Over the years, several states, California being the mostprominent, have taken surplus military aircraft and made them into what are called fire bombers. They are usually given some type of tank or other fire fighting liquid containment system. They are also given pumps and dump apparatus. You can generally identify them with their colors of red and white. see below:
This is a C-119. Note the small jet engine on top of the fuselage...probably a J-34 if memory serves. that was used to add a small amount of thrust. This aircraft type serve in Korea and Vietnam.

Next is a Navy plane: an AF2S Guardian. Originally built to work in pairs, one had a radar and the other had offensive weapons purpose built to destroy submarines. They served for only a few years until something better came along. Those that went to surplus were mostly scrapped. this one and a few others were modified for the fire fighting role. Aero Union of Chico, California modifies and maintains California's fleet. I found an AF2 at their significantly worse condition. I will post that picture when I can find it.

this is a C-123. Think Air America if you want to find a movie that shows these.

Now, here is a picture of one of the world's ugliest aircraft. The British, over the years, have come up with some beautiful aircraft. The Spitfire comes to mind, here. But, more often than not, they have made some ugly ass airplanes! This is a Fairey Gannet. Fairey is the manufacture. Gannet is the name given to that particular type of airplane. The Gannet had a turboprop engine, and apparently the designers did not have any art classes during their education.

Thanks for looking, and I hope you all have a great weekend.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Today 4th Graders, Tomorrow the World!!!

So, I am going to tell you how to win the hearts of fourth graders, but believe me, it is not for the weak of heart, nor stomach. I awoke this morning at 4am and noted that I felt…miserable. I was upset to my stomach, for no apparent reason. I got up and took a Pepcid, hoping that it would go away. My muscles were still sore, but that was only a minor consideration.

The day went nicely. Yes, I was upset to my stomach most of the day, but beyond that it went fine. When I explained my soreness to them as having come from playing games with their classmates in Terrace Heights, they thought that was cool. I also told them about our fish tank fiasco via giving them a spelling test. They got a kick out of that novel way of telling a story. So, yeah, did I win their hearts from this? Maybe. About 11am they went to PE, then recess, then lunch. I relaxed by putting my feet up and trying to calm my stomach. I drank some water and ate a little. I then spent part of lunch with the rest of the 4th grade teachers. I was more quiet than normal due to my stomach pains. Still, only a few more hours to go.

We got back from lunch and I began to read them a story. It is here that the absolute cunning of my technique comes out. I began to feel the urge to vomit. I took a drink of water. I continued to read. Then again, I felt the urge. I figured I could fight it, but midway through starting the last sentence of the chapter, my voice broke. I looked at the class and calculated my chances of avoiding their viewing of my up coming (yuck, sorry for the visual) demonstration of gravity, fluid dynamics, and the digestive system. I excused myself and grabbed a garbage can on the way out, thankful it was lined. The boys’ bathroom was right across the hallway. An unfortunate boy walked by during my performance, and said sorry. I said sorry at the same time. I decided I was finished after multiple…flare-ups, and walked back to class.

The kids had managed to see me from the door window. Or, at least a few, who, I am certain, then relayed the information…blow by blow (again, sorry for the visual). I walked back in and they each relayed their worry and care to me in numerous ways. One little girl got up and grabbed my water bottle from across the room. She took it to the sink and filled it up. She handed it to me. I was extremely appreciative of this action. I told them I was o.k., and actually feeling better. One sharp whit said, “it always feels better after.” I concurred and moved to the phone and alerted the office that I needed someone to cover for me because I had just gotten sick. The kids were disappointed that I would be going home. They, in near unison, said that I was their favorite sub, and wanted me to stay, though they understood that I was sick. A few asked me if I would come back. So, there you see my wonderful display of weakness did not breed contempt in their hearts but LOVE! I am an evil genius…a sick evil genius, but an evil genius nonetheless. So begins my plan to take over the world!!!! Wuh-ha-ha-ha!!

What a wonderful way to begin the weekend. I am feeling somewhat better. I still have horribly sore muscles. I did not clean the house as I planned. I managed one load of laundry, but took to the bed as soon as I was home. I lay there for an hour-and-a-half. Then decided I was simply TOO COLD. I took a hot shower which was not hot enough. I then came out and caved into my beloved recliner under a blanket. Cora came home and left again to go to her Mom’s to drop something off. I hope she comes home before I expire…


Main Entry:
Middle English, from Anglo-French vomite, from Latin vomitus, from vomere to vomit; akin to Old Norse vāma seasickness, Greek emein to vomit
14th century
1: an act or instance of disgorging the contents of the stomach through the mouth; also : the disgorged matter2: emetic

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Super Guppy, Kim, and Softball Fields!

I just got a great comment from Kim! She is wonderful. Her whole family is great! I just thought I should post before she asks why I have not posted for 24 hours…I did that to her…yes, I am ornery. You should see her blog if you have not already, she got a new cup that is really cool.

Now, I shall commence discussing my day…damn, this keyboard seems to be off and to the right. I keep seeing different letterd than I type gp up pn the screem…see??? Amazing isn’t it?

I did not teach today, instead it was maintenance for me. I initially though I would be painting the break room, but first I was enlisted by my father-in-law to help him mark a softball field…I thought, that should take about 2 minutes. Boy, was I mistaken…ok, wrong. We had to “drag” the field first, which smoothed out the lumps, bumps, and mounds. Then I had to use the Polaris to “Roll” the field. This pushed the rocks, which were obvious to me and my Father-in-law, but apparently invisible to the coach, into the dirt. I will not go into the difficulties invoked by coaches and groundskeepers…too much pain. Then we had to measure said fields. Home plate is 25 feet from the end of the field…then 60 feet to each base, but at a particular angle. Then find the third base…that is…hmmm, how shall I put this? …a bitch. I walked back and forth with the measuring tape ten times if I did it once! Then there was the digging, which may not have been so bad, except for the fact that I had decided to play tag with the kids yesterday…believe me, I regret that now! Especially, since it hurts to move, breathe, and… type. I got enlisted…volunteered…told… to dig the holes for the base anchors. Apparently I was to dig into concrete…or kaliche. a hard, calciferous layer here in the desert. It was rough on me…I did survive. Barely. There is a reason I became a teacher…most of it deals with my dislike of physical activity. Yet, here I am on days off from teaching…working. Physically. It took us most of the day to mark and place the anchors of the two fields…when, you may ask, was the game? Today at 230pm. Yep, we pushed it to within 10 minutes, but we did it. My father-in-law was having a lark at my discomfort…I have never, ever, made a lark of him…well, maybe once…twice? OK, we are even…I really enjoy working with him, even though I work considerably harder with him. The wind came up and it blew dust into me…yuck. The coaches seem to think the yard men are there to do their bidding…go figure.

I got a call from Cora shortly before quitting time, asking me to replenish our wine rack. I did, even though I was dusty and dirty and sweaty. I do anything for the wonderful wife…nah, I mean it, she’s wonderful. Of course, if I did not say that she would hit me. Yes, I am a battered husband. She is so tough.
I came home for lunch only to find Gypsy had escaped again...bitch...really, female dog and all...I finally found her long after my lunch was over...stupid dog.

Well, I teach tomorrow…really, teach? Maybe I should just say entertain…
This is the Super Guppy, originally built on the YC-97J, it added several feet to the fuselage and it had a cargo hold 25 feet in diameter. if you look closely at the landing gear, the main gear farthest to the left, note the pair of legs...that is Cora. look Closer...

It was created to shuttle Saturn Missle parts from California to Florida...the Saturn Missle was the rocket that propelled the Apollo moon missions out of the atmosphere.

Big, huh?

Note, it has turboprops...this was one of the earliest aircraft to test turboprops, basically jet engines powering propellors. Awesome, huh? BIG, too!

Cora thought it was HUGE! I agree. this aircraft is related to the B-29, which dropped the bombs on Japan. It then became the B-50, which was a significant improvement in engines and strength. then the C-97 became a good cargo hauler, then it became the KC-97, which was a huge refueling aircraft...then this! WOW!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hard Drives are not so hard

Well, so much for the External Hard Drive. For some reason it is no longer working. I am having to get my pictures the old fashioned way, from the card reader. Cora’s comp has its own card slots…mine is archaic. Hopefully Hitachi will reply to my desperate email asking what is wrong with it. I hope we have not deleted anything we put on there. I can’t believe our luck this week. It seems like things have just been going wrong. First the fish, then the HD going down. I guess that is not everything, but it sure sucks.

I am going to show you a few more pictures from our trip. Obviously. In the distance you can see the airliners stored in the desert...I forget the exact name of this field...but those are all retired liners. mostly 747s of various vintages.

And here is Cora showing her normal enthusiasm for the task at hand. Note she is looking at the ground while she speaks on the phone. Also, note her wonderful, mystical, and magical surroundings which she seems to be ignoring.

This grey bird is an Avro has been the recent subject of several magazine articles.
This is a Vickers of the early users of turboprops...basically a jet engine that runs a proppellor. Both of these last two are from Britain.
When I asked Cora to step into the maw of that one, it did not occur to me that I really was asking her to step into its MAW...
Apparently the 60th one I have asked her to step into...go figure.
This is of course the C-133, only 50 were built. Fewer than 10, probably closer to 7 survive. This is the aircraft that the book I bought is about. Built to take large pieces of cargo...basically it fortold what was to come. The C-141 and C-5 both replaced it.
Also a turboprop.
I hope you enjoy them...
Oh, I am so mad about that stupid hard drive.

A Bath and a Good Book.

O.K., I took a bath and a shower. I wasn’t that dirty, but there were a few things to be done. One: I needed to eliminate the sore muscles building up in my legs and back. Two: I also wanted to read the book I bought at the Pima County Air Museum. Third: The shower was for me to wash up…who does that in a bath? Fourth: was for Toby. Toby has not had a bath for a while, and he wore his color for a whole week…usually we leave it off when he is just home. It leaves a grey mark around his throat. Fifth: I needed to shave…I don’t have to clean out the sink that way (I hope that was not TMI).

Oh, and the C-133 book is great. It is a good book. Now, I had better explain that there are several types of good books, as far as I can tell. The best type is one that you just can’t put down. You have to read it to the end. (this type is rare, but, I will give you at least one example: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I could not put it down)

Another good book is one that, though, the storyline is fair, the writing is simply too fun to pass up. ( I have had only a few of these: Tom Robbins writes this way. It is so descriptive and so fun that you feel compelled to see how else he will use the language. Also, my personal favorite: Douglas Adams and his Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Don’t bother watching the movie, it sucks if you have even breathed a whiff of the pages from the book)

The third type is one that you can read over and over again. (the Harry Potter series is that way for me. I have also enjoyed reading a few science fiction novels over and over: I read The Hitch Hikers Guide every couple years, I have read several books by Allen Steele over and over, too. There are others, and usually it is because they are a comfort read.)

The last type is one that has a depth of knowledge that is difficult to undermine with poor writing, usually, it is subject oriented. My book is this fourth type, it is about the C-133 in particular and military airlift in general. I have been enjoying learning about something that I did not know about. Cora probably has similar books on biology that she feels the same about.

So, there is my semi-philosophy on good books. Wonder if it works for you…

Oh, and why did I have sore muscles? I taught PE today. Much like when I taught music, I feel the need to interact with the kids. This time, it was ball tag…which means carrying a ball around if you are IT and then dropping it as soon as you touch someone with it…fun. Also there were a few variations to the freeze tag I grew up with…one where the child crawls between the frozen child’s legs and thaws them out like that. The other was called Toilet Tag…the frozen child put their arm out and others would come by and “flush” them by pushing their arm down. It was interesting to see a boy, who did not know I saw him, run up to a frozen friend and pretend to pee on him, then flush…I almost got mad at him, but it was over so fast that no one else saw and I was too far away to make it threatening…plus I would have had trouble not laughing. I played a few times. I had speed, but, alas, not endurance. I was great out of the gates for about three minutes, then all my extremities got heavy and did not want to work anymore. Also, I was out of breath by that third minute.

The final thing is something called Pin Blaster…I have seen them do it before. It is a free for all where everyone throws balls trying to knock down others’ pins. The kids seem to like it. I thought I might have a better way, plus it would prevent me…I thought… from running around as much. I had each student grab a bowling pin and go guard it. I then stood in the center of the gym and proceeded to take all the balls and knock down students’ pins. Those whose pins I knocked over could join me in the center and then take their frustrations out on their friends’ pins…so long as they only threw from within a 10 foot circle marked on the ground. They seemed to like it. Some would simply stand in front of their pin and let the ball bounce off of them, others were more proactive about balls, slapping or catching them. I liked the ones who simply stood in front of their balls. I liked trying to get the balls to ricochet off the wall and bounce in at their pin from behind. By the end of the day I was becoming proficient…the kids did very good, and all seemed to enjoy themselves.

Cora is likely to download the pictures some time this evening, which means I will get to have pictures from our vacation to post. I am too tired to do much of anything…besides, the TV is right there and the laptop is here and all I need is to have Cora grab me another Pepsi…ah, life is good.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fish tank Bomb.

So, I feel better about the fish tank. We will rebuild. I picked up a new 10 gallon tank, and we have set it up in the kitchen on the counter. I have set the live rocks, which may be partially dead by now, in the new tank. We are waiting for the temperature to come up before we transplant the corals. My parents called today to offer to buy a new fish for us. I told them we are not quite ready for that. I hope they don’t feel responsible for it. I still have to do a post mortem on the old tank…I really want to know where it failed.

I worked maintenance today. I helped my father-in-law put a cycle stop valve on the school’s pump. It was heavy and the clearances were minimal. He finally got it. I spent the remainder of the afternoon loading and unloading science kits. Joy.

Yesterday, I taught second graders. It was fun. I got off early since her plan period was last. I then went to town and picked up the tank, more water (H2O for the fish), filled up the truck, and bought dinner. Then found that I was tired and sat down to recover from the previous week.

Today, I came home and began the tank stuff. Cora came in the door and caught me starting a nap. I quickly jumped and looked awake. Both the cat and the dog had taken up residence on my lap; I could not jump too far.

The picture that IS here was taken in late february of 2005. I was at the Travis AFB air museum. That is a Mk III bomb shape, similar to the one used on Nagasaki. 10,000 pounds of fury. 10 feet long and 5 feet in diameter. It was an implosion device, the implosion was caused by explosives specially shaped to produce shock waves that focused on the center, which held a grapefruit sized sphere of plutonium, with a tiny initiator on the produced extra neutrons that were to begin the chain reaction that caused the horrible is all more technical than that, but no less interesting. Still, I like that picture of me...self portrait by the way.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hell in a Glass Tank...Hell.

Catastrophe. A deeper, darker return can only be imagined. After a wonderful vacation, we arrived home only to find our beloved reef tank had suffered some sort of catastrophic structural collapse. All of our corals, our clown fish Bruce, our crabs, our snails…everything was apparently dead. I walked in, moments after bringing in the luggage. I looked at the tank-it was grey. It has never been grey. It is supposed to have pink and purple and colorful things in it. I screamed. Cora came in and she screamed. We have had this tank for two years. We have worked very hard on it. Things like that come through patience and time. We have put in care, patience, money, and time. I don’t think anyone but a reef tank owner could truly understand. It is horribly upsetting. We are both sick.
The tank apparently developed a leak in the bottom and all the water drained out. We began to disassemble it after we had both settle down and calmed. We were numb. We thought we might be able to save some of the rock. The only thing to do is to start over, no matter how devastating it is. Cora found one of her snails…it moved. Then she found a hermit crab, it too had saved some water inside its shell. We rushed the survivors to the living room tank. Then we found that one of our emerald crabs seemed to be alive. We also saved a few other things. Among them, possibly, we will be able to retain a couple of the more resilient corals. We won’t know for a day or two how the survivors will ultimately fare.
All that went through our minds was that everything was dead.
I called my parents immediately to see if there had been anything untoward or any warning of this. They said there was none. I could not contain my emotions and had to get off the phone. It is just something you can’t plan for. We tried to make sure that every foreseeable thing was planned for…this was unforeseen. I cannot begin to explain the unutterable sadness we are experiencing. We are both sick with this. I mean, nauseated. Shaky. It was so beautiful and unique, something we had made together and it is gone.
I wonder if the early hour that we got up, the four hours in the cramped and somewhat uncomfortable confines of an aircraft, and a further four hours of driving combined with the stress of getting everything together and making all the allotted stops, did not make this even more painful than it would have been. We are both exhausted after such a fun and wonderful week, but this just came at the very end of this week and we took it hard.
I want to say some positive things about the day. I don’t know necessarily what to say…Our dogs were pleased to see us, they probably thought we had abandoned them. Our niece and nephew were both pleased to see us…especially since we were bearing gifts. They both liked their gifts. Eli got an Arizona hat, with a gecko on it, and Emma got a necklace with a heart shaped stone in it. David is a bit young to appreciate his things. Carrie, my sister, seemed to like the pot and cactus seed we got her. I hope she has a nice little cactus garden.
The flight was ok, but cramped. I got a window seat, so I was pleased. We flew from Phoenix to Oakland…to do that we flew west to southern California, then north from there. We flew over Barstow and Edwards AFB…they have landed the shuttle at Edwards and MANY, MANY historic aircraft have flown there. That was worth the extra couple hours for me. But, it was a long flight and even if you are in a window seat, the combination of pressure change and dry air has an effect. We got off the plane in Portland, PDX, and finally found the car. It was considerably colder than Phoenix. We drove to Troutdale and got a bite to eat. Then on up the Gorge, all the while suffering from being tired. I stopped and got a caffeinated beverage and we went on. About three hours later we arrived in Richland and picked up the dogs. Then, after two cups of coffee, we drove to my sister’s new place. Nice little house on a nice five acre plot. The dogs liked it. They did not want to go back to the car…though, they lay right down and quickly fell asleep. We visited for awhile longer. Then, exhaustion nearing, we set out for home. Only to find the tank in its sad state. Hopefully, the survivors will pull through, and I do apologize for the sad pall I have put on this post. I don’t know what to do next. Sleep, I guess. Hopefully tomorrow dawns better.
I want to be clear that there was nothing my parents could have done to save it, nor prevent it. We think it was a weak spot in the sealant. We suspect it could have happened if we had decided to go to Seattle for the night, so there is no one to be blamed. It just happened. It totally sucks and if I were not so saddened I could probably turn this page blue with some language of anguish. I won’t do that, though. It is just a hollow feeling.
I am sorry for bringing anybody down. I hope your week goes well.

Flight Home...

I might as well post, too. We are at the airport. I think I will post a picture I took a few minutes ago. It is a bit warm in here, but, I am certain we will be nice and chilly as soon as we return to Northwest airspace. The ground crews out here are dressed in shorts…seems like it would be a fun job…but who knows. Soon, via Oakland, CA, we will return to Washington. Yippee…at least we get to see our pups…including Sully.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Say Yer Prayers Wabbit!

Our last day in Arizona and I was not sure last night what we were going to do. Then we found reference to a ghost town on the Apache Trail. They had a mine tour…which, I think turned out to be a “mine” tour. We doubted the authenticity of our depth. It was fun nevertheless. We went up and had some ice cream. Then we went to the museum, where we got a guided tour. Despite living in this area and being a WWII history buff, the guide had never been to Pima. He was also surprised that I knew the identification of a particular piece on display. It was the connection where a large belt, usually steam driven or a conveyor belt, connects to itself to form a circle. He seemed surprised till I told him I was a history teacher. Then again, maybe I had higher expectations of a docent…
We found they had some reptiles on display and so we spent four bucks each to see them. There were several local species. I think I got a good picture of a sidewinder…see for yourself.
They had a gun fight…in the street. The storyline was that the local mines had feuds. The two mine owners wanted to end it once and for all. They had hired the best gunslingers to fight for them. The first pair killed each other. The second were a bit more interesting. They could not hit each other and ended up…well, I have a whole bunch of video I am going to try to get on here…we will see if it works. It is funny and worth the wait…if there is one. well, the other video is hard to hear, but it ends up, the gun fighters shoot the mine owners...everyone laughed. I definitely recommend it to visitors and natives alike!
Then we left, walked in the desert and then went and saw an IMAX film, 3D of the Grand Canyon. It felt almost as though we were there.
We have to get up, well, Cora’s saying “the butt crack of dawn” just doesn’t quite pull it off. It is more like we need to get up in the Upper GI tract of Dawn to get to our plane. We shall see. I will be sad to leave this weather behind. The people here are great and so is the flora and geography. What a neat state. Kim, I hope you had a good day boating.
Enjoy the videos if they work. Jimh.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Arizona Rocks

Just a short post tonight, I am running on fumes… We did not do much today. We visited the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum…it rocked. Literally, there were tons of ricks there for your rock viewing enjoyment! It was actually pretty darned cool. I have been to the mining museum in Butte Montana, but this was actually pretty cool. I have also had the pleasure of visiting the Empire Mine in California, but, again, their gems and rocks did not quite add up. We saw several minerals that fluoresce,:
and then loads of copper minerals. Chalcopyrite, Chalcedony, and of course, native copper. No, there are no pennies doing a rain dance, it is simply pure copper found in nature. We saw one mineral that caught our attention: Bismuth, it was produced in a lab in Germany, but it was SO pretty. We bought some rocks and a piece of bismuth…picture of that may come later, if anyone is interested.

We found a Rubio’s Authentic Mexican Grill for lunch…a beer and some carnitas street tacos made for a very enjoyable lunch. It was just as good as we remembered. Here is a picture of the receipt because Cora would have been embarrassed if I had started taking pictures.
We wandered around the rest of the day. Being so familiar with the layout of the town, I had relatively little trouble finding my way around. A note to potential visitors, though: when a traffic sign says 65mph as a speed limit, it is likely that your fellow AZ drivers will mentally add 15 or even 20 miles per hour to it as a matter of course. Still, it is loads of fun. I can’t remember a vacation we have taken alone since we have been married that has had so many new things and has been SO fun. Phoenix and Arizona has been great to us.
I don’t know what we are doing tomorrow…maybe a hike…maybe we will find a gila monster or a snake…wish me luck!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Brrrr-There Must Be A Giraffe In Here.

We watched as the tiger crouched, waiting. As they have for millions of years, it lay motionless, not a twitch betrayed its presence. Then its prey, a pair of jeans filled with blown up balloons, moved too close and POP!!!

We visited Out of Africa today, which is not far from Sedona. They have 44 acres of land dedicated to several zebra, two giraffes, ostriches, and several gazelle, and a camel named Humpfrey. They also have loads of big cats and a rhino. They saved the Rhino from some firm that wanted it for a “canned” hunt somewhere in Texas. The Rhino knows his name…what kind of hunt is that?
We went out on the safari ride and Cora kissed the Giraffe…or as close to kissing as one can get…someone else got slimed. See the picture for proof. The Giraffe's name is Kebo...can you see the way they flirt?

We went on a safari ride…where we saw the Giraffe. Then we watched a show, where the handlers played with the tigers in a way similar to how one might play with a house cat. See video.

We had a slow start. But we made it up there and had second thoughts when we walked through the gate, but after we had been there for a while, we realized that we were really enjoying ourselves. Cora will post, but possibly not tonight. We did not get back until about 9pm.
We wandered around the shops in Sedona. Walking by one we spoke to a young man, and were offered a free night in a hotel with $50 spending money. This person asked us where we were from and wanted to give out the hotel room to spread the word about their new hotel, no strings attached. We wanted to say yes, since it looked so nice, but once again, we had left the house with just the clothes on our backs…dammit.

Sedona is VERY pretty. Arizona is a state of many faces. The people we have met that live here seem warm and friendly…except for a certain family from Tempe, who are simply the BEST! Tucson was a nice town, though we did not spend much time there. The fact that there is an air force base nearby is enough for it to get my vote. Phoenix has lots to offer, and now we have ventured north. Wow, and what changes you can see with the simple expedient of altitude change. By 3000 feet the saguaro were long gone. We made it to the top of a mesa about 4000 feet and it looked a lot like central Washington, more specifically the area between Soap Lake and Spokane, except for all the prickly pear cactus. When the junipers started cropping up it put me in mind of central Oregon, not far from the “ghost town” of Shaniko. It was a beautiful drive.
Sedona looks like what we Washingtonians imagine the painted rocks to be…it isn’t THE Painted Rocks or the PAINTED DESERT, but it sure was pretty.
We stayed till sunset. We ate at a place called Oaxaca, a Mexican restaurant. It was excellent. Oaxaca is pronounced “Wah-hawk-ah.”
Here are a few pics, like I said Cora may post tonight…if she wakes up. We are both pooped…we may need a vacation from our vacation!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Long Winded But Illustrated.

When you are a person who has an affinity for aircraft, there are a few places in this world that make your heart sing. I always get a kick out of watching airplanes fly over. Does not matter whether I know what type they are or not. I like those fabulous flying machines. I walked hallowed ground today. I also road a bus through it.
Today we drove from Phoenix to Tucson. Just on the south end of the city is the Air Force Base, Davis-Monthan. Nearby that, is Pima Air Museum. The largest Private Collection of aircraft in the WORLD. We managed to get there at 930. We both bought hats to wear for the day…Cora got a little burn on her scalp yesterday and did not wish to repeat the process. I just wanted a hat.
We walked into the first hangar. In there were several civilian jobs. Soon it became apparent it would be best if we just hit the aircraft I have been wanting to see. So we did. There was the Martin PBM Mariner, the one and only example of its kind left…some 2-3000 were built and served all over the world. It is a huge flying boat.

They also had on display the tail section retrieved from Lake Washington, near Seattle a few years ago…it was a bungled operation to raise the entire plane. I am still peeved with the idiots who did it.

Then there was the SR-71, and the XF-107. The SR-71 Blackbird, serial #951 is here. I am standing next to the business end of a J-58 engine. The XF-107 was considerably bigger than its predecessor, the F-100.

Outside was the first of three Constellations. The first of several iterations of Boeing’s 707, and a few other aircraft. We saw more aircraft than Cora would probably care to count. She was a trooper, by the way. She did this for me. She walked around and took pictures when I wanted and some when I did not know she was. She let me be myself and enjoy myself doing it. It probably helped that while we walked around outside, several F-15 Eagles took off and then some A-10s. The Eagles returned and did some interesting formation work, plus breaks that you just don’t see civilian planes do. A break is a change in direction, usually away from the planes you are in company with. These F-15 pilots did not simply lazily roll over to turn, they flipped their planes on their sides and raced around corners. Cora seemed to enjoy their antics just as much as I did.

We saw several rarities. There was a C-133 and a C-124, both transports from the 1950s with numbers fewer than 15 remaining.

The same can be said for the B-58 Hustler and the B-36(4 remaining).
I don’t know how many A-5s are left, but this is the first one I have seen.

Same goes for F-4Ds Skyrays,

and F-3H Demons.

These 1950s Navy Carrier jets had short lives, but carried the torch of carrier aviation long enough for greats like the F-8 Crusader and F-4 Phantom to take it and run.
The only downside or bummer of the day was that one of our camera batteries had apparently failed to charge. And to top it off the only time we found that out was when the other died. So we hurriedly charged it in the diner and then let the other charge while we took our AMARG tour (which, they said today, stands for Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group, I think I had “Aircraft” as that first “A” yesterday).
The AMARG tour was AWESOME!! We got on the bus and road over to the air base. Then they drove past lines and lines of aircraft. Some await scrapping and others will fly again. F-4 Phantoms may be target drones, but F-14s, which were recently (2006) taken out of service are being disposed of quickly. The reason for this was a silly mistake made by our government some thirty years ago. We sold, then New, F-14s to Iran. Their avionics (basically flight electronics) were different, but they were mostly the same airplane. Well, shortly after they received some odd number…30, 40? 100? The Shaw came to power and began his hate America thing. Our technicians were still there showing the Iranians how to fly and maintain them. Well, when the Shaw began his diatribes and anti-American stuff, our American technicians took some important little pieces with them and went home. That, and the fact that the US has kept F-14 spare parts from going on the market, has kept the Iranians from using these top of the line aircraft.

There were some oddballs on what they call Celebrity Row. One pair was the YC-14 and YC-15. They competed with each other during the 1970s to try to replace the C-130...guess which one is still flying...Yep, the C-130 is still here, 50 years after production began...they still make it.

Then there was the LC-130 that was used to retrieve the Antarctic scientist with cancer from McMurdo Sound.

We drove by “Engine Cans” and A-10 wings and even a few Harrier wings. The cylinders in the background house engines.

It was an amazing tour. We did not get to go over and see the B-52s that have seen the guillotine, but you could make them and the C-5s out in the distance.

I bought a book about the C-133 I have been wanting and I also bought a wingtip from an F-8 Crusader…why, you ask? Because I am not done building my airplane!

We had a great time and are near exhaustion tonight…we took off by seven this morning…got gas and coffee, we did not make it back until almost 8(?) tonight.
An interesting thing with AZ is that the freeway speed limit is 75mph in places…usually people ignore that and go 85 or 90! The mileage on our rented Nissan Sentra was dismal at those speeds. We hear sounds that make us wonder if it will make it. It has sensitive brakes and throttle. It is not our Camry.

On the way back we drove through Tucson looking for the In ‘n’ Out Burger…a treat we have not had in over two years! We found it and ordered their biggest burgers! Then about 40 miles down the road we decided we were thirsty and decided to stop. It was at another mall…and there was another California favorite of ours…a Rubio’s! If we had not had the big burgers and the milk shakes we could have had some street tacos…ohhh, the humanity!