Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sin City Survived

Ames and I have returned successfully from Vegas. We did well enough that (1) we didn't hit the ATM machine at all and (2) we were satisfied even though we technically lost money. However, if you're headed to vegas, I'd recommend betting on red-32 on the roulette wheel. It didn't come up a single time while we were playing, and the odds of not getting 32 once in, say, 300 spins, is reasonably low.

Granted, unless you believe in funny math, the odds are still 1 in 38 for the next spin, but hey, I'm just sharing the information I have.

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing Penn & Teller at the Rio. Ames was very excited that she got to talk to Teller after the show (and he really can talk!) You can check out her blog for more info on that. I did get to pose for this photo with Penn, who, at 6'-6" was still a good 5-6 inches shorted than the super-tall woman we saw at the show with us. Now that's tall.

We also saw the Blue Man Group at the Venetian. This was also a good show, but we both liked Penn & Teller better. Blue Man would have been better had they played more music and dropped some (or most) of the "(fake) audience involvement" gimmickry. If I were to pretend to be a critic, I would call those aspects "cute", however they seem really out of place when compared to the drum-beats-gone-wild musical aspects of the show, which were very cool.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Las Vegas Celebrity Sighting

So toady Ames was quick enough to spot James Brown (JB) of FOX Sports broadcasting fame. Considering that I see him every week during football season, but it was my wife that had to point him out to me, I'm not sure what that says about me.

I'll go out on a limb and say I'm not always the most observant fellow when it comes to seeing things around me. Ha ha.

Turns out tommorrow is the Vargas vs. Mosley title fight, so I'm sure that's why he's here - unless of course it was just because he heard we'd be here and was hoping to spot us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The weather was nice again today so I had the chance to make a quick flight after I finished up a few meetings. About 4:30 I got off the ground and headed from Greenwood to Richmond Municipal Airport, just on the Indiana side of the Ohio border, and more or less due East of Indianapolis.

I headed out from Greenwood to the Shelbyville VOR (not very far), and then took straight vector to Richmond, which has it's own VOR as well. It gave me a chance to practice a little VOR navigation on the way there, and some simple pilotage on the return trip (in layman's terms, that means navigating by looking at a map and the ground to figure out where you are).

It's a short 120 nm round-trip, and I made it twice during my training -- so to say I had to rely strictly on these navigation techniques is a bit of a stretch, since I was familiar with the route already. The point was to use something besides my fancy-pants GPS and prove that I won't be a basketcase should it ever crap out on me.

For some reason, I've never seen anyone else flying around this airport, despite 2 intersecting 5500' x 100' runways (and a third that's no longer in use). The runways seem a bit dilapidated, which is a shame given that it seems like it could be a pretty nice little airport.

Random Music

While I was in the car this morning, I started the iPod in a random spot in the "My Top Rated" playlist. I haven't really gone through the trouble of rating even a small percentage of the songs on there - that's something I pretty much do to pass the time while trapped on a long airline flight. But, there are enough in that list to make for a reasonably sized list.

Anyway, I thought the assortment that came up on my short drive was interesting. This may seem like a wholly random assortment, but for those of you know me you probably won't be surprised. It was a bit slanted to the heavy metal, but that's probably a product of what I've actually rated more than anything. Here's the list:

  • My Way, Frank Sinatra
  • Mr. Brownstone, Guns-n-Roses
  • Don't Tread on Me, Metallica
  • Dragula, Rob Zombie
  • Learning to Fly, Tom Petty
  • Heart Shaped Box, Nirvana
  • Down with the King, Run D.M.C.
  • We're Not Gonna Take It, Twisted Sister (LOL)
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday, U2

Monday, February 20, 2006

I blew away my blog and all I got was this lousy plane...

Ok, so not to be outdone by my wife, who is not to be outdone by Susan, who is not to be outdone by her husband who is not be be outdone by me, I've restarted my blog. In summary then, I'm in competition with myself, I appear to be losing, and I'm squarely in last place.

Either way, here is is, in all of it's glory. To get started, let me tell you about my Sunday mini-adventure.

Sunday was a clear, sunny day here in Indiana, except that it was all of 20 degrees. I decided to take the plane up for a flight, except, I couldn't get it started because, yes, it was freaking cold outside. It would barely even turn over. As I sat out there, another one of the pilots came up and after chatting about my (relatively) new plane, he said he had an old engine preheater that I was welcome to have because he didn't use it anymore. It was of the "homemade" variety, and he hoped "that the mice hadn't chewed up the inside of the heater".

What the heck, it's worth a shot, I thought.

This apparatus, which you see here, consists of a small ceramic space heater which sits inside of a bit of ductwork connect to a hand-cut flange of sorts that fits nicely inside the cowling opening of a late model Piper Warrior, and convenientlyfor me, also in a late model Piper Archer.

To give it some hight to reach, you see it sitting on a pastic bin which I happened to have. For it's previous owner, it sat on a nice piece of cinder block, but I didn't have such amenities laying about the hanger.

I looked for mouse dropping and dusted it off. Other than being in a bit of banged up shape, it looked okay. I hooked it up and gave it a shot - however - the cold wind was keeping the heating element from reaching the temperature required to get the fan to kick on. I took my coat off and draped it over the enclosure. to let it get warm.

Luckily, I had a light jacket in the car to throw over my sweatshirt. But - after waiting about 5 minutes, I realized that the cold wind was blowing right inside the opening on the other side of the cowling. So, I removed my second jacket, and stuffed it inside the hole.

Standing in 10 degrees with just my sweatshirt, I waited 20 minutes, ensuring that neither my jackets, the space heater, or the plane would burst into flame, moved everything to the side, and started the plane right up. The engine ran pretty awkwardly for a few seconds but then settled out just like it should. It could be that one of the cylinders wasn't firing properly yet, and was a bit worrisome, but it subsided quickly and everything sounded and ran fine after that. Next time, I'll let it warm up for a good half hour first.

I got almost 2 hours of flying in. I ran into a bit of light snow on my way to Robinson, Illinois, which caused me to divert over to Brazil/Clay County instead. Light snow isn't really an issue, but there was already an icing AIRMET for that area and the visibility was sure to deteriorate, so why chance it. Then I did a touch-and-go in Greencastle (of not particularly high quality) and flew back to Greenwood where I had a real nice landing.

I've got just under 70 hours now of total flight time, which isn't much by anyone's standards, but I'm proud of it anyway. It will be nice when the weather finally breaks and I can get more regular flying in. This is about the time last year that I started taking lessons very regularly, so I'm optimistic that more regular VFR weather is just around the corner.