Holiday Season.

With U.S. Thanksgiving just a few days away, one can safely say that the holidays are upon us. I think Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays; it hasn’t been infested by crass commercialism and it makes me think about what I’m thankful for, all the blessings I have and all of the love that I am surrounded with. Thanksgiving is a beautiful thing and it makes me smile.

Jamie and our friend phil will be enjoying us for our annual Thanksgiving feast this year. Earl did the grocery shopping yesterday while I was flying around. This was very kind of him because I am not a fan of going to the grocery store unless it’s Wegmans. And unfortunately, we don’t have Wegmans in these parts.

Today we began cleaning the house in preparation for the holidays, tackling various drawers of junk and other accumulations that were scattered about. I spruced up my office this afternoon, adding a few accoutrements to the walls.  I also organized my pilot equipment. Because of my geeky/techy approach to being a pilot, I have a lot of things to charge and stow for my next flight.

Earl announced to me that he is going to start the Thanksgiving cooking on Tuesday night. I can’t wait for the house to be filled with the aromas of his culinary skills.

It’s just one of many things that I am thankful for.


In just under 54 hours from the writing of this blog entry, the Eastern Time Zone of the United States will be back in sync with the sun. Noon will be noon and we won’t be jimmying around with the clocks to make the sheep (and I’m not referring to farm animals) think they have an “extra” hour of sunlight.

Every time I hear someone comment that they’re happy that the day is longer during Daylight Saving Time (there is no “s” at the end of “saving”) I want to smack them. Instead I start to rant about time being relative and if they want a longer day perhaps they should get their butt out of bed earlier.

I go on and on about Daylight Saving Time around this time of year every year because for the past three weeks I feel like I have been trapped in a constant state of jet lag. It was bad enough when Daylight Saving Time ended on the third Sunday in October, but then George W. Bush pushed it to the first Sunday in November so that the trick-or-treaters could do their thing when it was still daylight, except that at 19:06 EDT, it’s not still daylight. It’s still just as dark when though rugrats go trick-or-treating, so we’re not really saving anything there.

Others counter that the “extra” hour of daylight gives folks the opportunity to enjoy daylight after work for a longer amount of time. I went for a walk during sunset this evening and no one was jogging, running, walking or spending time outdoors. The only activity I could see was the glimmer of computer monitors through unlit windows.

We need stop messing around with the clocks twice a year. We should just set the damn things one half hour back this weekend and never touch them again. If you want more daylight, get up earlier. If you want more daylight after work, go to work earlier. If you want to run around in the daylight, go running earlier. Time is relative. For those of us whose bodies are in relative sync with the actual time as dictated by the sun, going to bed when we’re not tired and getting up when we’re tired just so we can hear how much the farmers love Daylight Saving Time (they actually hate it as much as I do) is getting, well, tiresome.

In less than 54 hours it will be light in the morning again and dark in the evening and I, for one, will not be so blurry eyed and cranky because our arbitrary assignment of time will actually match what’s going on outside.

And just for that, I will go for a walk, in the dark, because I’m not afraid of the dark.

Real Time.

I’ve been trying to be more realistic with my time management skills. As a bit of a dreamer and a person that I like to think is mostly positive, I try my best to do as much as I can with the time allotted to a 24 hour day. I like to do things, I like to meet new people, I like new experiences. Unfortunately, I also like to make people happy so when the timing of an activity is on the fence, I’m more inclined to say yes instead of being realistic about the situation and saying no. This stems from not wanting to disappoint people. I can’t handle sad faces and I certainly don’t like disappointment. It’s also a part of my genuine enthusiasm for an activity. If I truly didn’t want to do something or go somewhere, I’d say no right away. If I wanted to and I was hopeful but not realistic about the timing, I’d say yes and then possibly cancel, which is kind of rude, now that I think about it.

So in the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying really hard to say no. 

Saying no isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Only a couple of folks have whined about my declination of an event since I’ve been practicing this whole realistic timing thing lately, most take my no graciously. This practice has extended to my work habits, I’m now taking my normal time computation formula for a project, adding a fudge factor and then doubling the whole thing. Don’t tell anyone at work that I’m doing this. It makes me look like a superstar  when I finish a project before the doubled deadline and it makes me feel really good when I can subtract the fudge factor from the equation.

I really need to slow down my life. Between working 50-55 hours a week, doing all sorts of nifty things with Earl on the weekend, flying an airplane whenever I can, studying as an instrument pilot and whole bunch of other responsibilities and obligations, I have a lot on my plate.

I need to clear the plate off, be more selective of what’s there and then concentrate on that. This will be a nice little improvement to my life.

I won’t be out of breath when I smile.


Image courtesy of a Google search leading to this blog, “My Midlife Crisis Is Orange”.

Remember the days when ordering a large drink from the movie theatre meant you were getting a 24 ounce cup of something? The sizes were 12, 16 and 24 ounces. The large seemed a little excessive but going to the movies was a treat and sometimes you wanted to accompany your treat with another treat.

Last night Earl and I went to see “The Intern”. We had both been wanting to see this movie as from the trailer it seemed rather light with just the right amount of introspection, the story seemed interesting and it had an excellent cast. Quick summary, we both enjoyed the movie very much.

Before entering the theatre we stopped at the concession stand to order the compulsory snacks for the event. Popcorn is my favorite food, so I ordered a large (but no butter) and a large Coke Zero.

I was presented with a tub of popcorn (a bigger tub than normal) and 54 OUNCES of Coke Zero. I’m no rocket scientist, but I’m pretty sure that the elixir of badness in Coke Zero should not be consumed in amounts greater than 16 ounces, let alone 54 ounces.

That tub of Coke Zero was just 10 ounces shy of two QUARTS of liquid. That’s 1.6 liters! 1.6 liters! I was handed 54 ounces of caffeinated diet brew with a plastic lid and a straw.

On the bright side, it fit in the cup holder in the theatre.

Because the vat was already filled before I realized the size of the drink I had just ordered, I used our line of credit to pay for this huge drink and popcorn and I lugged everything to the theatre. The barrel of pop fit in the cup holder, I arranged for my popcorn to have its own seat.

Earl looked at me like I was nuts because, well, I am nuts.

So we enjoyed the movie but I felt guilty for wasting about two-thirds of the popcorn, about three-quarters of the Coke Zero and the line of credit arranged for the payment of such waste. As a good citizen I carried my garbage out of the theatre and when I dropped it into the bin, the garbage can shuttered and there was a loud thud.

We all know that I am occasionally insane, but who in their right mind needs 54 ounces of any sort of snack beverage, especially since many probably order the full strength, sugar laden version of Coke.

The next time we go to the movies I going to act like a kid and go for the kids’ sized drink and popcorn, unless the kids’ sized drink is now 24 ounces or something.

Maybe I should just sneak in my own bottle of water.

Digital Nomad.

Today’s technology affords us many things that we couldn’t do even just 10 years ago. We can see the face of our loved one when we talk on the phone, no matter where we are. The entire knowledge of the world is literally in the palm of our hand with just a few taps on a screen that doesn’t have a keyboard. We can carry thousands of songs in our pocket, easily find out what airplane is flying overhead at any given time and keep tabs on long lost friends and acquaintenances.

As a software developer, I am fortunate in that I not only do what I love to do for a career, I can pretty much do it from anywhere in the world. Last year I worked for a week from Kansas City, Mo. as I accompanied Earl on a business trip. I found coffee houses, shared office spaces and our hotel room all to be a productive work environment. It takes a lot of discipline to remain focused as you’re working on the road, but honestly, I find it easier to concentrate on work when I am surrounded by the din of a retail environment or something of that nature. Oddly, working in a cubicle has a distracting effect on me; last week when I worked with my teammates at the home office, I found cubicle chatter to be distracting. Random noise helps me focus, focused noise distracts me. I guess it’s just the way I’m wired.

Earl has another business trip coming up soon and I’m going to meet him in Memphis, Tenn. for a day or two. I won’t need to take vacation time; I’m taking an evening flight or two to get there and like previous circumstances, I’ll find a space and a place to work. As I mentioned before, I work better in that kind of environment. While I enjoy working at home, it’s not my favorite scenario and there’s a part of me that feels like I’m missing the rest of the world when I eat, sleep and work in the same building. That’s why I’m sitting in a park in the Jeep writing a blog entry right now. I need to get out.

Everytime I work while traveling I learn a little bit more about technology, the world and more importantly, myself. When you stop growing and learning, you stop living. 

And I intend to live every moment out there in the world.


As my dad, my grandfather and I walked through the grounds of Oshkosh for the EAA Annual Convention and Fly-in in 1984, my dad commented to me that it was easy to pick out the male pilots from the non-pilots in the crowd because most pilots tend to be clean shaven. I countered that at the time I knew a couple of pilots that had beards or mustaches. I don’t remember what his reply to my counterargument was but he said something about clean shaven men being disciplined. Our conversation that day kicked off something in my OCD ways and ever since then I’ve always noticed whether a pilot is clean shaven or not. All of the female pilots I have met fit the bill and about 90% of the male pilots have been clean shaven.

On the other hand, I know some bearded men that are damn fine pilots and I am very proud to call them good friends. I have fully established that facial hair has no factor on the depths of aviator talents and skill.

This all being said, I was going through some old blog entries and I noticed that I have been completely clean shaven for a whole year. No mustache, no goatee, no awesome beard, just smooth cheeked and baby-faced since October of last year when a barber wearing puka shells around his neck shaved off my mustache and cleaned up the rest of my face at a barbershop in Kansas City, Missouri.

I don’t think I have been clean shaven this long for as long as I have had the ability to grow facial hair.

For many years I was easily identified by my ginger beard or large mustache that went along with my bald head. Having cool facial hair can kind of be used like currency in the “gay” world; Instagram posts get more likes, blog entries get noticed. There are many that get gaga over an awesome beard or ‘stache and quite frankly, I enjoyed the ginger powers I had to command attention when I had a beard. People noticed when I walked into a room. It was a huge stroke of my ego. I was sort of like a peacock, strutting around with ginger awesomeness. Even when the gray came in strong, I enjoyed my cinnamon and spice prowess sprouting from my chin.

During the past year I have firmly established that I am more than the ginger powers that come along with growing a beard. I have always found the chore of shaving to be fascinating; the concentration required, the idea of holding a sharp blade at your throat. I have noticed that no two men shave the same way, some take quick, short strokes, some try to get through the process as quickly as possible, others grind away at their chin with an electric gizmo while driving into work (that seems dangerous to me).

I have to admit that I have enjoyed the taming of my ginger-fueled ego and vanity with my clean shaven face. I have other reasons to feel cocky, I defy gravity as a pilot after all, but more importantly, I feel comfortable as just another face in the crowd.

I feel like I’m putting more than just my best face forward.


It is officially my favorite time of the year. The temperatures are in a manageable range, sunshine is abundant and there’s a crispness in the air that feels just wonderful. Mother Nature is showing off her colors in all her glory today and I couldn’t help but capture a few photos from the back lawn.  I used my Canon Rebel XS camera in hopes of capturing the depth of the color I see in the leaves. 

It’s such a beautiful sight to keep one focused.

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The leaves are just starting to show their colors in the woods along our back lawn. In about three weeks it’ll be peak leaf peeping season. There will be many oohs and aahs, I’m sure.

The air is very still and quiet here today, even though it’s midday and usually there’s a wind blowing during my lunch hour. The leaves are barely moving. The wind chimes ding only once in a very great while. I like the stillness; I’m hoping that Mother Nature maintains this attitude so that I can enjoy a flight after work tonight.

I ran into a friend last night who asked if I was going to become a flight instructor, as I’m am embarking on the next step of my pilot training at the end of the week. Becoming a flight instructor is my retirement plan. I don’t see me ever fully retiring (and basically doing nothing) as I’m not sure my brain could handle that sort of stillness. I might feel differently in 20 years but right now I like to keep busy doing things that I enjoy doing. I find rest and relaxation in keeping my mind occupied.

Oh how I enjoy the sound of a calm late-summer afternoon. I think I’m going to work outside for the rest of the day. It’s too nice to sit in the basement when I don’t have to.


As I get older and probably more crotchety, I’m finding that I have a very low tolerance for advertising in general on the Internet. In a way, isn’t it ironic, don’t you think, because I used to make my living by writing ad copy for an advertising agency and a group of radio stations. There’s where my uproariously fantastic knack for humor comes from, from writing ads that were suppose to make people giggle as they listened to the morning show on the local radio station and were allegedly titillated by people that were paid to make people laugh and feel slightly sexy by off-color jokes.

What the hell am I talking about?

Oh, the Internet ads. Now, I don’t believe that I need a tin foil hat because after all, tin foil hasn’t been around in a few decades or six, but I’m really not enjoying the tracking that is done on the Internet for the purposes of targeted advertising. I don’t mind tolerating commercials on the radio and I have been known to sit down once or twice a year for live television and I have tolerated those commercials because after all, that’s what we grew up with. Some shill gets paid to tell us why we should ask our doctor for a pill that gives us oily, gassy excitement in our nether regions (among other things that are probably more productive), but I really don’t like having some shill tell me, specifically me, what I should by based on what I mentioned in an email. For example, I off-handedly mentioned in an email that I was going to hang out with friends and there’d be beer and cigars at the event and now I’m being bombarded with ads for cigar companies. I have mentioned a cigar once via my keyboard but all of a sudden I’m getting all these ads. That’s definitely the product of someone tracking me somehow and I’m not liking it. Now that I think about it, it was an email composed on my Google Chromebook and I wasn’t even using an Google services when I composed that email, it was one of my private email accounts, which can only mean someone is monitoring my keystrokes or watching specific words typed into a form using Google Chrome. I have since wiped Google Chrome off my Mac and I’ve shutdown the Chromebook (it’s for sale if anyone with a higher tolerance for banality than I have is interested).

So I’ve decided to start weaning myself off of ad supported services. I’m already six steps ahead in that game because I use primarily Apple products, which cost a lot more but don’t bombard you with advertising. I’ve had the same Google account for many years (Gmail, Google+, Google Maps, etc) but I deleted that earlier this week and that felt amazingly cathartic. Since Gmail was forwarded to my primary email account, the amount of spam/non-desired mail coming in has decreased to about a 1/3 of what it was in less than three days.

The other thing that is really irking me about ads on the Internet is the click-bait articles, especially those aggregated by the news aggregator apps like Flipboard and Zite. A well known tech blog site had an article entitled, “Why Windows 10 leaps ahead of Mac OS X” and because I’m a die-hard Apple boy, I clicked the link. After getting through an ad that blanked out the entire screen until I found the minuscule ‘X’ in the corner and then the auto-start of a video that blared some really cheesy music that I hastily turned off, the article turned out to be no more than five sentences talking about some inane feature in Windows 10 about network password sharing or something. It was a complete waste of my time and it irked me, so I completely deleted Zite, wiped out Flipboard and pledged to start reading the newspapers that I subscribe to instead of scraping the bottom of the Internet for something to entertain me.

While I’m on a bit of rant, I’m also going to mention that an new app on my iPhone or iPad gets ONE opportunity to ask for a rating in the App Store. If they persist in asking for ratings, I will give them a bad rating and delete the app, finding an alternative that is a little less needy. Asking for a rating is a glorified ad to contribute to a glorified ad for their product and I don’t want to be part of the snowball that this whole thing is starting to resemble.

Another service that I deleted today is Pinterest. Honestly, I’ve never quite figured out what Pinterest is for; I stumbled upon it in an Internet search for clocks to add to my collection and all it was was a bunch of pictures taken from other sites and tagged as interesting. Since Pinterest has since bombarded me with emails that have escaped my spam filters, even after I have filled out forms asking for no more emails, I decided that I can just find the damn photos myself and I yelled “Good Riddance!” to Pinterest.

I understand that most of these services make their living off of advertising revenue, just as I did when I worked for the ad agency and radio stations, but as an old-school consumer of sorts, there are some lines that I have drawn in the sand and I’m not going to tolerate companies crossing those lines.

I’d rather pay for my supper than have someone tell me what to eat.


This summer our back lawn has been a social gathering place for various visitors, much more so than in previous years. I don’t know if it’s because we don’t have a resident guard by way of the feline persuasion living with us or what, but every evening we can look outside and see deer, rabbits, turkeys and more. The deer usually come around meal time, whether it be I’m eating lunch during my workday or Earl and I are eating supper. I don’t know if they just have a terrific sense of timing or whether they can smell us grilling and/or cooking, but they like to stop by and see what’s going on.


During one of the last visits from the deer, Mama had two of her kids come along with her. One of them jumped over the creek and into the woods as soon as I stepped foot on the patio, but the other kid and the Mama stayed their ground until I was fairly close to them. Mama then made a noise at me, the kid jumped along the same route as his sibling and then Mama jumped behind the both of them. A quick glance into the woods confirmed that they were just across the creek and looking back through the brush at me.

I enjoy the visits from our neighbors.