29 December 2018

Nicely Done!

The SCQueen and I went out to dinner at a local Mexican fast food type restaurant (we had a gift card).    Over in the corner were about 8 kids doing what 5-7 year olds do, exercising their lungs.  Dad yelled out "Gunner, knock it off!" as the SCQueen was filling her soda.

She turned around and asked "Excuse me, what did you call him?"  "Gunner".  "What a cool name" She gushed!

After dinner she stopped by their table again where they introduced their other kids Dillon and Barrett.  (Subtle - I like it!)  Mom noted all three names have double letters.

I think the SCQueen was a bit sad that we hadn't thought of it first :-(  That would have really set off my anti-gun relatives (If they figured it out :-).

Nicely Done.

09 December 2018

Dodged a bullet today...

Lost my wallet.

I prefer sweats in the winter as they are far more comfortable.  Today I had some business at the airport working on the tug moving SCS-1 into and out of the hangar.

I had a carb I was going to swap onto it until I found the fuel inlet was 180 degrees out :-(.   So at least while I have it off, I can spray it out with carb cleaner.

Off to the Home Depot down the road to purchase same.  I recall throwing my wallet in the right front pocket leaving the truck.  Found what I needed and made my purchase with cash from the other pocket.  Returning to the airport, I realized my wallet seems to have jumped out of my pocket.

I searched the truck, under and along the seats but nada.

Returned to Home Depot thinking about what credit cards etc I need to cancel.  As I put the keys in my RF pocket, it occurred to me "Probably lost it when pulling my keys out to drive home."  Checked my previous parking spot, also nada.

Walked into HD and approached the customer assistance desk.  There were three women there all with 100% attention to their phones.  I announced my self "Good afternoon... I was in here a few minutes ago... and my wallet is missing".  2nd woman: "What is your name?"  "SandCastle Dad".  And she produces the wallet.  CA#1: "Did you know you're not on FaceBook?"  as she showed she was searching for me on the platform.  Me: "Yes...  that's not an accident!"

I thanked all three and I thank the honest citizen that brought it in from the parking lot.  There my or may not have been an emergency Benjamin in the wallet.  I have not checked to see if it is still there...   (Nor do I care)

A good friend years ago advocated "every 6 months or so, you should take your wallet to a copy machine, put the conents on the face and make a copy and file it away."  That way if/when you lose it, you'll at least know what you've lost.

Good Call...  need to reinstate that policy.  Starting Tomorrow.

28 November 2018

I won the lottery!

I entered the CMP 1911 lottery back in September.

They received 8000 1911's from the DOD, but also received 19000+ orders during the 1 month open order period.  

CMP declared the process would be that every packet received would be assigned a random place in line.  With the additional admonishment "Don't call us, it'll only slow the process down".  And I have taken that to heart.

I was elated to receive an email with my number: 2606.  WhaHoo!  I feel like I've won the lottery.  They promise a call in a few weeks asking for grade & payment.

I can't wait..  But I will ;-)  This process started roughly a year ago.  I can wait a few more months..  And I will.  Go CMP!  TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY! ;-)

OTOH, I didn't connect with a single number on the Power Ball.

I'll take my chances with CMP :-)

06 November 2018

NFW on political "dynasties"

I don't ever want to see another "Kennedy", "Romney", "Clinton", "Bush" or "McCain"

Please all of you.. just go away.   I don't want to see any of these names on my ballot.  I will never vote for you.  Just go away!  Nor do I want you as an appointed senator.   NFW!  Stay Home!  Get a real job and earn your keep.

04 August 2018

New Shoes

The truck's tires were down to the wear markers.  The tires were OEM equipment with 55K miles.  No idea if that is over or under the design life.  No matter.  Baby needs new shoes.  The tire pressure warning has been on for months and despite verifying inflation, refused to reset.

The SandCastle Queen showed me a Sam's Club flyer.  If I read it right, I could save $80 on a set of four tires and get free installation (normally $60).  But it was a one day only sale.  I called to verify the deal.  They said "We're booked with appointments for the rest of the day but if you buy the tires we can install them later this week and book the savings.  Fair enough.

The SCQueen and I head on over and not only are the tires in stock, they have an opening in the shop right now, appointments be damned!.  Sure, let's get 'em done.

Before even starting work, they inspect the lug nuts.  I've not run into this before but they explained some manufacturers have used Aluminium lug nuts that plastically deform under heat and the pressure of the tire.  They will reject the job before it starts if their socket will not fit over every lug nut.

But here's what really impressed me: When re-installing the tires, they started every lug nut by hand.  I've had lug nuts cross threaded by ham handed installers living out their NASCAR crew member fantasies burning on the lugnuts with the airgun only.  Then they finished off the lug tightening via a torque wrench that he had just set to proper torque referring to the paperwork.  They even logged the serial number of the torque wrench on the receipt.

That's the way it should be done!  And I didn't even have to ask.  Good Job Guys!

(Nor did I get paid for this review either.  I just want to note a job properly done.)

Oh and while we were there we managed to find ways to spend another C-note :-(

04 June 2018

Crap news :-(

I  learned this AM a longtime college friend was in ICU/stable but critical condition.   Later learned he passed around 7pm PDT.

Well Crap!

I used to joke "at our ages, we meet for weddings.  Later on it will be for funerals"  And alas, time has caught us :-(

Word we are getting is "cardiac event" but not "heart attack" nor infection, nor... something else usual...  Bottom line (my assessment), his heart just quit.
A good friend and fraternity brother of 30+ years succumbed this eve. At our mid 50's we are too damn young for this crap! 

Godspeed & Tailwinds Brother!

07 May 2018

Update to my last

The shop that installed the new master cylinder barely 3 months ago stood behind their work.  They identified the problem as a defective master cylinder and said they would be charging it back to the manufacturer.  Sounds like something wasn't machined properly.

Anyway they honored their warranty and installed a new one at no cost.  They reset the two year warranty period and they didn't hesitate to cut us a check for the tow fee!

This is how it should be and this is why we used this shop in the first place.  The SCQueen handled the negotiations and they never tried to bamboozle her.

So our only "cost" was loss of use of the vehicle for the weekend + 1/2 Monday*.  Unfortnately the SCSon had to be at his $PARTTIMEJOB at 0600 two of those days.  Fortunately for me, the SCQueen is a morning person.  Have I mentioned I chose wisely? ;-)

Here's the unpaid plug:
Desert Car Care
95 North Dobson Road
Chandler, AZ 85224
(480) 726-6400
Good People!  I have a deeply rooted distrust of mechanics after finding a screwdriver left inside the timing chain housing of my engine, left behind by a mechanic).  They have treated the SCQuen well every time we've been there.

* I would not have been surprised if they would have covered a rental as well.  But we didn't push the issue.  They have offered a rental in the past.

05 May 2018

Well that could've been awkward!

The SCSon's youth shotgun (SCTP) club held it's end of season event Friday PM.  The deal is a quick team event round of trap (SCTP youth + 1, preferably a relative or friend).  I took time off from the DayJob(tm) to shoot with the SCSon.

Just as we arrived at the event, a leak developed in the car's hydraulic clutch.  Driver first noticed an unresponsive pedal.  Opening the hood revealed the reservoir was empty.  Refilled the reservoir and tried again.  Nope, it's pumping out with every push on the pedal without any moving the pressure plate from the clutch..

More frustrating is that we had that system reworked barely 3 months ago!  Replaced both master and slave cylinders to the tune of nearly six bills.  We took it to the shop because the master cylinder is in an impossibly constricted area of the car between the shock tower & firewall.

Fortunately we have AAA and called for a tow, knowing it would likely be a couple hours before we were picked up.

Also, this is a large world class range with a public range, several pistol bays, 600 yd high power rifle range, small bore and shotgun (trap & sporting clays) ranges.  She called and said "I'm by the bathrooms".  I said "good" and gave further directions...  Then nothing.. so I headed up the hill (I didn't want her to abandon the call and leave us stranded).   Finally we heard the truck fire up right where we expected..  She later related "Oh, I took advantage of the restrooms!"  Cool, I'm glad they were there for you.

Now picture the scene... we've at a shooting club with a pair of shotguns.  We've shot about the most miserable round of trap ever (11's).  Now we have to have the car towed to the repair facility.  OK, we can lock the guns in the trunk for the tow (cased and unloaded), but now we have to make the last five miles home.  I've not dealt with Uber or Lyft but AFAIK, it's gun free zone.  And I really wouldn't want to leave the shotguns in the trunk even for an hour or so to get a ride home and come back for them.

Fortunately The SCQueen has been volunteering in the snack bar and had driven separately.  Thus we had a second car to load the guns.  Lacking that I think we could have either a) imposed upon others to transport them home, or b) asking the coach to lock them up on site with the club guns overnight.  And I don't like option B!

Hopefully the repair facility will find a simple fix and the car will be back in service quickly.

BTW, the tow truck driver was *awesome*.  She drove the ~3? ton  truck with the enthusiasm of teen in a Ferrari!  And she called me "hon" on the phone ;-)  I'd never address anyone serving me "hon" so the turnabout tickled my funny bone.  I asked her "what's under the hood "V-10 Hemi"  Dang!  That's doing an amazing job of turning fuel into noise!  Seriously, She did a fantastic job!    I'm glad we drew her.

14 April 2018

Fun trip

I used to live and base SCS-1 on the North side of the Phoenix metro area.  Back then flying up to Sedona was as easy as falling off a log as there is nothing but Class E airspace between the two.  The attitude was something of "Oh look.. 'tis a day ending in 'Y'... lets have lunch in Sedona!"

Now SCS-1 is based on the southside and there is a whole lotta complex airspace in the way.  The SCSon yearned to visit the airport.   And for good reason.  The airport is kinda of a special one in that it's up on a mesa, and likely the closest most of us will come to a carrier landing.

We tried for last week but the winds were reported as 16G20 80 degrees across the runway :-(   Abort - SEZ is no place to visit with high winds in the vicinity.

Today we are seeing VRB-003 even though winds aloft suggests perhaps otherwise.  At least this gives us a window.  So we depart (SCSon PF, me Navigating) northbound and stay at or below 2500 to stay under the Phoenix Class Bravo, then climb through the Scottsdale class Delta (In radio contact and with their permission".  More complicated but still doable.
The flight up to Sedona was uneventful though rather bumpy with the turbulence of the winds over the mountains.  But the red rocks were beautiful as ever.

And here we are Wheels down @ SEZ.

On the return leg (Me flying, SCSon Navigating) we contact approach and get flight following just east of Cottonwood..  I'm surprised Phoenix TRACON has RADAR services that far north.  I'm old but willing to learn.  

We had a bit of a hiccup where we were given a radio handoff...  And we called 3x.  He was kinda busy so we didn't sweat it.  Then he called us. and we responded... to no answer.   We called asking radio check - no answer.   OK flip over to the other radio where we finally re-established contact.   The radios are both Icom A-200's though one antenna is on top while the other is on the belly.  The belly antenna has less "vertical" than the top antenna.  That might have been the difference.

As we near ~30 north PHX, approach clears us into PHX class bravo..Meaning we don't have to worry about the class bravo shelves, everyone else is above you.  Eventually they clear us direct DVT @ 5500  then for the EAST bravo transition.

Keep it east of the runway threshold but west of the freeway.  Clear of the corridor once south of the freeway.  Request direct destination, granted "Remain on transponder code, contact tower".  And we do.  That left us a bit high for the destination arrival but we made it work out.  Still....Arrival "uneventful" and that is the best answer to the question of how was the flight?

A Great flight!  The SCSon logged 1.3 (uphill and upwind).  I logged 1.1 downhill & downwind.   That choice was not an accident.

How was your Saturday?   I score this one a home run!  Now excuse me as I file an ASRS report for the altitude deviation in the Class Bravo :-(  Unintentional, My Bad and fixed it immediately before the controller said anything...  Still gotta file.

11 April 2018


I only regret I don't have any BofA accounts to close... because I came to the conclusion that BofA stood for Bank of A$$holes about 45 years ago and closed all my accounts then!  And actively avoided them since.  Now they have gone political with the decision not to finance ar-15 manufacturers.

It did result in an uncomfortable moment at a summer party where the host offered a choiceof many cozy's to keep one's drinks cool.... many featuring BofA themes.   I spouted off with my 45 year opinion of the  company: BofA = "Bank of A$$holes"

Had I known our host worked there, I wouldn't have brought it up.  That's just being social... But it doesn't change my opinion of the company.   They have had no business of mine for 45 years running!  I said Alpha Mike Foxtrot before I was 10 and haven't looked back.


29 March 2018

unexpected benefit

The SCDad (my dad that is)  was born during the great depression and grew up on a farm.  Needless to say he's of the mindset that doesn't spend money on "frivolous" stuff... like personalized license plates.

A couple years ago we were struggling with what do we get Dad for Christmas?  What do you get a senior citizen that has everything he needs.  He served 20+ years in the US Army and is very proud of his active duty + Reserve service and we are too.

The SandCastle Crew proposed to purchase and annually fund a personal plate in a military theme so his money is not going to frivolous stuff.  His state does not specifically honor veterans but they do have a vaguely pro-military plate.  We put our heads together and came up with an appropriate plate recognizing his service.  It starts with O5 for Lt. Colonel and a few more letters to details his specifics.  ~6 months later he proudly installed it on his car.

Also, he's a widower.  Talking to other widower's thet tell me worst part is the empty feeling in the evenings when there is no one to talk to.  They tell me it's very important to find activities to fill these hours.  To that end he's an amateur musician and works with several local community bands.

Fast forward to about 10 days ago.  He pulled up to a 4 way stop about 9pm coming home from band practice.  Checking both ways, he entered  the intersection.... and caught a glimpse out of the corner of his eye and hit the brakes.  He was promptly hit from R to L  in the front end removing the entire front end of his car by someone speeding ~15 over the limit and never slowed for the stop.

The crash was loud and drew a 50+ crowd from the apartments on the corner.  Fortunately for Dad, one was an off duty, out of jurisdiction police officer.  He noticed the custom plate noting military service and took Dad under his wing.  Step one, escort him to his truck to sit down.  Step two, find the front plate and stash in the trunk.  Step three explain to local PD when you are ready to interview Dad, he's right over here and YOU WILL GO TO HIM! (And they did).  Step four, drive Dad home (about 3 blocks).

Thank you to the off duty PD office for taking good care of SCDad.  And amusing to hear the plate is what triggered him to treat a vet with kid gloves.

SCDad gets his car back today (Friday)

23 March 2018

WooHoo!! A real Red Letter day!

This is what the SandCastle's driveway looks like tonight:
There is a new pilot in the SandCastle!

The SandCastle Queen painted this to celebrate the SCSon's passing his Private Pilot checkride!   He's been working on it for the better part of a year.  He completed the requirements last August but had a devil of a time to get scheduled with an examiner.  Today he had a 3 hour oral and 1.5 hr flight and walked away with a temporary pilot certificate.

This makes him a 4th generation pilot.  Great GrandFather (& Grand Uncle), Grandfather, Dad a couple cousins and now the SCSon.

Dave Hirschman wrote a very good article last year that well describes why we made this investment in him titled "Because he flies".  Let me humm a few bars.

Because he flies, he’s learned to plan for the worst, to prepare for aerial emergencies, and to always be ready to implement a Plan B (or C, or D) when things go awry. He’s experienced the limited value of forecasts firsthand. And he knows limitations such as how far, how fast, and how high his aircraft can fly; how much fuel it needs to reach a destination, and how much weight is safe to carry.
Because he flies, he’s learned to focus on the immediate task at hand. He can push the nagging trivialities of daily life aside and—at least during his time aloft—live entirely in the present.
Because he flies, he’ll be less tempted by the dangerous impulsivity that does such harm to every generation. Driving recklessly means nothing to those who know they can fly far faster than any highway speed limit. Excessive drinking and drug abuse can ground aviators, so hopefully he’ll steer clear of them. Flying rewards healthful moderation.

Congratulations to the SCSon.  Now don't get cocky
(Drive way artwork & photo credit SCQueen, copyright 2018.).

11 March 2018

How'd you sleep last night?

How did that "spring forward" work out for you?

Me? I'm good.  See I live in the most stable time base ever, AZST (Arizona Standard Time) "We never change!"

I hope one day the rest of the world will come to it's DST senses.  Pick a timeoffset and stick to it!

14 February 2018

Gotta love modern technology

TL;DR:  modern technology allows me to send lunch money to SCSon via his phone.

Long Form:  The SandCastle Queen called just before 5pm "The SCSon left his wallet when he left to meet his instructor".  Tried calling and texting so he can swing by the DayJob(tm) and I can give him some $$$.  Good news, this proves he doesn't use his phone while driving (this is a good thing).  He finally checked his phone at his destination while getting ready to order supper... and no dinero to pay with.

I didn't want to drive over and deliver cash because it means ~10 miles in rush hour traffic in the wrong direction.  Discover Card used to let me generate a one-time use CC# that I could use, but that's gone the way of he dodo bird,

Fortunately the internet is now a thing, and by golly, did you know you can send an eGift card over the internet!  So I was able to send him a sawbuck to his phone to buy supper with!   Maybe I should have let him suffer to learn the lesson.  But that would sacrifice the primary lesson :-(

Still 'cuz Internet, I could send him an egift card via his phone.  This saved a whole lotta driving in ugly rush hour traffic in  the rain with accidents practically on every corner.  Gotta love $TECHNOLOGY!

And the unpaid plug this was Panera Bread Co  though I suspect many other chains offer something similar.  And a hint to those that don't,  Figure it out!