My second greatest love affair…

With my last entry I’m sure I disappointed some who were expecting something juicy about a nefarious encounter with the fairer sex. Though I have plenty of stories hidden away to make the most open-minded people blush, this affair has to do with someone special that I’ve written about a few times before. I figured I’d revisit my thoughts and share them with the bored and easily captivated crowd reading random blogs on a Sunday night.

I’ll cut to the chase… Her name again… Turtle. Turtle Sloop to be exact. The sea slug of sailboats. Fat, Heavy and a little too tender for winds above 10 knots. That being said, there was nothing quite like the feeling I’d get when I’d step outside after a long night of being anchored out in the Puget Sound. Aside from the times of regret of not being aware of what I ate before a venture out into the high seas… err I mean inland waters, There’s not much that can compare. Maybe sex… Maybe flying… Maybe Key Lime Pie…

As I was sitting on the crapper tonight, I was pondering how the fuck I got myself here. My bathroom may very well be as big, if not bigger, than the whole living area on my boat. Some may ask me how I didn’t feel claustrophobic or like a prisoner.

What’s crazy is that the more space I end up having in my living quarters, the more closed off I feel. It was a crazy idea to think that the only real barrier to me not taking off without looking back was a few dock lines and a power cord. Sans the fact that my boat probably wouldn’t survive the open water for long, I literally could go anywhere I want. I’d figure out ways to survive. Fish, hunt, beg… My story would begin. The book would write itself and I would be known as the guy that no one knew because he never stayed.

Even when cozied up in the marina, Turtle was my escape. Every single day. My foot pump sink and musty sleeping berth humbled me. I couldn’t imagine having anything else. Now, I have two faucets in my bathroom and a microwave that doesn’t fall off the wall when it gets windy. What the fuck do I do with two faucets?

I could get teary-eyed thinking about what Turtle did for me… and still does. My story can’t end here. Not like this. There’s more to life than being annoyed at the fact that my cell service doesn’t work in my apartment parking garage.

My Not So Secret Love Affair…

I’ve written of this before but tonight I decided to revisit the romance I’ve experienced and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget. My first time was when I was 14. I barely remember what was going on but all I knew was life would never be the same again. It only lasted a half hour but that was all I needed. I had been working my ass off for the next few months just so I could do it again. I did it four times before my parents found out and I was ‘discouraged’ to say the least. It wouldn’t be until many many years that I would be able to do it again. And let me tell you, there’s not much in this world better than this…

“Big Bend 2, Runway One Eight, Clear for Take-Off”

I had been in plenty of military aircraft (and jumped out of them) enough times that nervousness had no factor in it. It was pure love. Aside from the cocky instructor on my right, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place that has given me as much joy. Then the first big drop came from the crazy thermal action alongside the lake right after take-off. My heart said, “Yes Dave, this is it!”

For the next few weeks it was hardcore studying, chair-flying and immersion into everything aviation. My first solo was in quick order. Unfortunately it took about a zillion landings before the instructor finally jumped out of the plane and let me at it. I never had a problem getting the plane on the ground safely, it was really a process of perfecting it more so to cover the ass of the instructor that signs off. Along comes the first solo. I took to the sky with a love in my heart that no engine stutter or wind gust could shake.

Many hundreds of landings later, check-ride after check-ride and amazing flights along the way I was at the end. I had just passed my instrument check ride and was a few weeks from taking the commercial ride. There was only one check ride I failed… damn plane that I hadn’t flown before gave me a secondary stall about ten minutes in. Gillespie looked over at me and said “Are you serious?” I was dead on the altitudes, radio calls, everything…. That was the one and only time to date that I had experienced a secondary stall. Unfortunately, FAA says some things can’t be overlooked.

After a crazy-stressful instrument ride where I was a thousand feet above my final fix and a half mile out yet still managed to nail the ILS, lady luck was on my side. The chief pilot, who gave me that check ride looked at me after we landed and said “There were two times during that flight that I almost failed you, then you did something amazing and redeemed yourself.” He didn’t actually say if I passed until we got inside and everyone was waiting for the answer. He reached over, grabbed the paper and with a smirk on his face signed off ‘Passed.’

So on to the commercial ride. The last flight at the school. After this, I had one more annoying math test and I was set free. I don’t think I could have been more happy with my last flight. My spot landings were about as perfect as anything. I was even challenged (ungraded at this point) to land dead-stick with no instruments. Not even an airspeed indicator. The check pilot adjusted himself to turn towards me as he blocked off the instrument panel and killed the power. He says “I don’t think you realize how good you are. Now land this plane on those numbers.”

I turned towards the numbers, listening to the whistle of the wind to keep my speed. I came in a little high so I slipped in. 65 knots in a full deflection slip to lose altitude. He was about to rip the ‘oh shit’ handles off if there was any but I had never felt in more control. There was a fence about 40 feet before the threshold that he didn’t think I was going to clear. I aimed at the fence, got my speed up and at the last minute used the last notch of flaps to lift up and over. I straightened out from the slip, full back on the yoke and got the most amazing ‘wert’ from the wheels. Dead on the numbers. Nose wheel dead centerline.

“Take Us Home.”

The final landing at Grant County was actually a bit sloppier. He was used to a different style of soft field landing so he gave me the ‘What The Eff?” look when I came in with more power than his students ever used.

We got back to the ramp, hands sweating, heart racing. He was the kind of guy that always had a list of ‘things’ that I could have done better but he didn’t bring too much attention to it. When he turned to me in the plane he paused. I thought “Oh Shit.” He held out his hand and said “Congratulations, you’re a commercial pilot.” I almost felt like I was going to cry. Not really because I was relieved of the stress of it all, but because I knew this was it. When would I see my love again?

I have neglected it for far too long. Only taking a few flights here and there. I keep my license right in the flap of my wallet and see it every time I open it up to check my phone or grab my debit card.

It’s time for me to find a way back to my love. My happy place. Let’s Fly Away.

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return”

Do… Stuff…

It’s funny how the ‘Simpsons’ used to be a ‘bad-for-kids’ TV show. “Eat My Shorts” has been replaced by Stewie prank calling Moe at his tavern saying his daughter is being raped. I’ve got thick skin of course but there’s something a little unsettling about the trend of things…

Aside from the crazy stuff that the media brings to our attention, there is something else that I think about a lot. The aliens on the Simpsons… Kang and Kodos.

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Sometimes we should take their viewpoint to appreciate what we’ve immersed ourselves in.

As I was finishing up some work tonight, I looked around the apartment and said to myself…. “I’m having a Mac Attack!” So I’m addicted to Apple. So what? I have the work MacBook, personal MacBook, iPad, iPhone, AppleTV, Apple Airport, 2 iPods….

It wasn’t but 15 years ago that text messaging was barely even popular. 15 years ago my computer monitor alone cost more than my iPad! Now my 22 inch flat screen for my desktop computer just isn’t doing it for me.

I set my laptop on the counter and had a weird little conversation with myself. If an alien from another planet were sitting next to me and asked what the heck that silvery looking thing was, what would I say?

“Well Kang and Kodos, it’s a device that has the ability to affect the lives of every single person on this earth.”

Seems like a stretch right? It’s not.

So many of us have these amazing tools that typically get used for nothing more than building a pseudo-life to show off to our friends and entertain ourselves when our personal relationships give us no satisfaction.

Of course these devices are nothing without a connection to the world… wide web. But really, that is exactly what the web is. It’s a bunch of computers linked together. Maybe not .7 inches thick, but computers nonetheless.

So if I were to explain to an alien how to use this ‘thing’ to change the world, how would I say it?

“Well, you can join social media and share something ‘viral'”
“You can start a business and sell these very same things”
“You can research and invest and make a lot of money and do cool things… in this world”

But those are gimmes. No shit Sherlocks. Thank You Captain Obvious…

In a world which has been overrun by anti-socialism via handheld devices and social media, it’s a bit hard to swallow to realize that the very technology that is keeping everyone personally disconnected, could very well be the one thing that saves us all.

There has got to be a better way to put these things to good use.

Revenge of the Nerds… You’ve won. We got it. Your awesome inventions work. We bow down to you. Now quit nerdifying things and let’s get busy. Let’s share real knowledge. Let’s collaborate without ulterior motives. Let’s understand each other.

For the handful of people that may read this, and maybe even share it… I challenge you to stop for a second. Take a good hard look at your phone, or your computer and think about how much we are neglecting the power that we hold… Or are we meant to even have this power?

Perpetual Disappointment…

I’ve discovered a problem with trying to do to many things in my life. In the last ten years I’ve done more than some people do in a lifetime. I’m not boasting about it here… because really, it’s quite depressing.

In the second year of flight school, I would actually get bored doing solo flights. Well, until I got lazy with a stall here and there and almost shit myself when I felt a spin about to happen. But really… who gets bored flying?

It seems that much of what I do with my life has the same feeling. A lot of times it’s with women. Just like the planes I flew in school, there’s a point at which you realize that there was a bunch of dudes (and women too) who got their rocks off with her before you did. And probably did cooler things too! There’s nothing special about it… Just flying around in circles like everyone else has done before. Yawn…

My boredom stunted my progress as is does with a lot of things lately. Maybe I’m just being whiny or entitled but come on people! Throw me a bone! It could be that I need more friends… Or more money… However the cheese is cut, I need to find a way to be satisfied with life again.

Because of what I’ve recklessly done with myself over the years, I raised the bar for what I expect out of people. It’s not that people in my life aren’t/can’t be amazing, it’s that I need to realize that most people actually think ahead about how their actions will effect them later in life.

I mean… Who hasn’t been deployed to combat, built a restaurant, attained a commercial pilot license, lived on a sailboat, traveled to other countries, lived all over the US, acquired (almost) a massage therapist certification, developed websites, jumped out of planes, climbed trees for a living, drove semi-trucks cross country, slung coffee, smoked a cigar with Miss. Washington… And who has run out of fingers and toes to count how many … ehh, never-mind that one.

I’m off to shower, get dressed in my lame clothes and go to the shitty coffee shop down the street in hopes of running into my soul-mate. Then again, maybe my soul mate is on craigslist.