12 January 2020

I'm too young ...

... to go to my friend's funeral!  Yes, I'm old enough to qualify for (some) senior discounts, but my friends should not be dying at these ages.  He was 61.

He was an engineer and pilot.  We met in the flying club at the then $DayJob.   He was a VFR only pilot.  Never aspired to any higher ratings, but that never stopped him from taking extensive cross country flights.  Including Oshkosh twice (1800+ miles one way).  Heh, I recall after the 2nd one he said "We never got higher than 500 feet AGL (Above Ground Level) all the way home."  "Do you know how many 2000' towers there are out there?" I asked?  My flying philosophy is "altitude is life!"  Should the engine hiccup, altitude gives me time to diagnose the problem and/or find a suitable landing site.  Not to mention, we are above 2000' TV towers.

I learned a friend was selling his 1946 Aeronca Chief, $12k.  It's not a "practical" airplane, top speed was only about 85kts and no electric starter.  It was a tailwheel toy!  I called a bunch of friends to lay out a plan:  If we can get 6 people together and agree to some ground rules, we can buy it for only a couple grand each!  (I did not have $2k laying around, but I did have some "6 months no interest" checks on my credit card) - yes, I bought a (share of) an airplane on a credit card! It wasn't practical, but is was *magic* to fly!

He bought in and in time flew it to Oregon, some 15 hours of flight time one way.  He also got into "cruiser" motorcycles and took many long range rides.

He also went on to become an Executive Vice President at a DJIA company, though you'd never suspect it meeting him off the job.  Hell, I knew and he would barely acknowledge that part of his life to me.

During my ~30 years of knowing him, the only thing he failed at was "retirement".  He tried 3-4 times, but always ended up bored and found another job.

I am missing him already.


24 December 2019

Merry Christmas Eve...

At least that's how it's supposed to be.  Today the SCQueen decided she needed a few items to complete Christmas dinner preps..  Half an hour later the phone rings. 

It's the SCQueen: "The electronic payment systems are down.  So are the ATMs .  (question unasked: "can you bring me cash?)"

Here's the local story.

"How much are we talking about?"  "Under twenty bucks."  "Be right there!"

I'm not a fan of using "e-pay" for minor purchases.   It's just too much trouble to reconcile the bill at the end of the month IMHO.

Sidebar: Once The SCSon and I visited a local corner store to buy sodas.  Showing up at the cashier I realized I had no cash to pay the bill (less than $2).  And the cashier advised e-payment was not available.  I told him I'd be back with cash.  He was genuinely surprised when I was back within the hour to pay up!  In this case, good on the proprietor to not sweat a $2 purchase over a $.05 cost.

I've used credit in emergency situations but in general, I really want to pay for small stuff in cash.  I also don't carry lots of cash, just "lunch money"

Fortunately the SCQueen met me in the driveway and I didn't actually have to park in the Godforsaken parking lot design. As I passed off the Jackson, she said "It's getting ugly in there!"

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

18 November 2019

Ford v. Ferrari

On the scale of "things I'd rather not subject myself to" goes kinda like this:
  1. Getting sent to Jail/Prison
  2. Taking an airline flight
  3. Seeing to a movie in a theater.
  4. Thanksgiving with (some) inlaws.
Between the high gate price ($9 matinee), and absurd concessions ($6 soda) and insufferable premiers (25 minutes),  I cannot recall my last visit to the theater prior to today.  It was probably a Thunderbirds matinee with the SCSon when he was maybe 5.  I seem to recall between tickets and a shared soda there was precious little left of my $20 bill.   Today I'll add, don't even think about interacting with a live body, or paying cash for anything!  It's all done on kiosks via credit cards.  Thanks $15/hr minimum wage!

Ok, the movie is a retelling of a historic event, like Titanic and Apollo 13.  We know how the story ends before entering the theater.  I love motor racing, and in my book road racing is only 2nd to air racing, an Le Mans is the pinnacle of the sport.  But this story predates my interest so it was mostly new to me.  And I guarantee the SCSon knew nothing about it that wasn't in the previews.

*spoiler alert *

Like Apollo 13, they likely had to condense some of the drama.  I understand the bit about the overheating brakes was a bonifide issue and is in fact the reason they failed in their first attempts at the race.  I'm curious about the Carroll Shelby betting his company on his driver.  Did that really happen?

* end spoiler *

Ford v. Ferrari seemed a story worthy of putting up with the "theater experience".  Between the really nice seats (Recliners) and no sticky floors.  Perhaps the revamped venue is worth the $9 *MATINEE* price.  But there is no justification to a $6 soda!  We didn't buy popcorn, but I vaguely recall noting a tub cost $8!

Really theater owners?  You might as well be telling me " you can come, but it's gonna cost ya! And you have to do it my way (no cash!)"  Let me be blunt: The product you're selling just isn't worth it.  I give you Exhibit A (Charlie's Angels).
Sayonara! A single ticket + soda costs more than the DVD on release day 1.   I can't imagine what story would ever entice me to return!

I will also add,  it appears part of the movie was shot on closed runways @ LAX.  As a pilot, I have a strong belief that *airports* are for *airplanes*.   They are specifically not places to be closed off as movie sets or makeshift racetracks! (but kudos to the producers to understanding the lighted X's to close the runway)  And IANAL but my understanding is FAA grants require same-same.   Could also be CGI...  If so, good on ya.  Ya done good!

11 November 2019

Don Jr book signing

Donald Trump Jr. was nearby to sign his book at a local costco.  The SCQueen & a sister escorted the SCMIL (mother in law) to get a signed book.  It's fall here in the desert but temps are still on the upper side of the 80's and that sun is brutal as ever.

The SandCastle Queen reports the line was extremely deferential to the SCMIL and kept pushing her forward in the line to keep her out of the sun.   At one point the SCQueen told her mom, stand here and I'll go get our chairs.  Another person in line wouldn't hear of it and said "No, you will sit here (his chair)" while you wait!

In short order Costco employees noticed the white hair and escorted her inside to wait in the AC.  The SCQueen waited outside and offered to take charge of the other guy's chairs while he went through the line to get a book.  He said "eh, they're only $20 chairs.  If they are not here when we emerge, no big deal"

He was surprised to find the SCQueen with his chairs!

They met a lot of good people in the line!  And good on all those that took care to see a 90+YO didn't spend too much time in the sun.  And the SCMIL got a signed book ;-)

03 November 2019

Last shot of the day

Yea... an out of battery discharge.

I knew sumthin wasn't right upon firing the shot.  Clearly the forward half of the case was supported by the chamber while the aft half wasn't.   Probably lucky for me, it blew down where I only suffered superficial wounds,  Even if it had gone up instead of down, I wore full Z87 rated safety glasses. so I'd probably mostly be ok..

The rifle is a 9mm AR-15 carbine, because I received a Midway USA offer on a 9mm upper I could not refuse (Thanks Larry!).

I'm frankly surprised it would send the firing pin forward this far out of battery.  I seem to recall a similar situation with an .223 AR-15 where it would not fire if the bolt wasn't locked up.

This particular rifle seems to be of "blowback" design.  Which given the loads I use (7.1 gr AA #7), ample powder ends up back in the shooters face and into the action.

It also seemed to foul the action.    Time to clean the rifle and try again..  But maybe with leather gloves ;-)

07 October 2019

What are the odds...

.. This guy has/had a legally owned gun?


Who thinks "respond with a gun" is a reasonable response to "too much noise in the upstairs apartment?

I had a couple downstairs apartments during my college years.  Frequently the upstairs noise was enough to "disrupt" us downstairs.  Most times we accepted it as "price of living downstairs".  Though I will admit to serenading an apparently amorous couple with a bad rendition* of "Black Dog" after being woke up at "way-too-dark-thirty" for their quickie.

But firearms never entered even in to the thought of the equation.

Deeper research suggests the shooter was hit by a ricochet, but it doesn't stop the "serves you right" "payback's a bitch" angle to the story.

* I have an electric guitar, but I try not to inflict my playing upon others.  There have been special exceptions.

Guns are never a solution to noise complaints!

20 September 2019

$dayJob team jersey day

$dayJob Activity club invited all employees to wear their favorite team jerseys this Friday.

Now if you've noticed the "about me", I'm not a big fan of "ball sports".  So the smartA in me selected this T:

It's kinda hard to read in the photo so let me summarize.  These are the equations that describe orbital mechanics:
    G x mx M/R = mx Vesc^2 or Vesc = SQRT[2x GM/R]
    V2 = Vp = r1 x v1 x sin phi1/Rp
    Ra^2 x v1^2 x sin phi1/Rp^s-vt^2 = 2 x GM x (1 /Rp-1/r1)
    e = SQRT(r1 x v1^2/GM-1)^2 x sin^2(phi1) + cos^2(phi1)
    tan(theta) = (r1 x V1^2) x sin (phi1) x cos(phi1) / ((r1 x v12^2/GM) x sin^2 (phi1)-1)
    Fd = Cd x p x (v^2/2) x A
    Nm = v/c
    c = SQRT(k x R x T)
    F = q x Ve + (Pe - Pa) x Ae
    p = m x v
    F = dp / dt

I really like the equations explaining "This *is* Rocket Science!"

And the back of the shirt explains the equations on the front:

The other shirt I really like is one the SCSon picked up.  It's the old NASA logo with the tag line "Not Flat, we checked".  Nicely done guys!

Yea, I'm a nerd, and proudly so!  Go team NASA!