Monday, February 29, 2016

first anniversary

Crazy how time flies. Four years ago today, Will and I were all dressed up, standing in front of big picture windows looking out onto the Pacific, with his childhood pastor and ten of our closest friends around us...then a fun lunch with everyone before heading off to Disneyland for their "24 Hours of Disney" event (which really meant being stuck in horrific traffic, taking four hours to move less than a mile, the park closing because of the sheer numbers, and other assorted craziness).

As many people have said about that day: "It was very 'you guys'." :^)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

flying under a full moon

I have always said that I love the world from above at night. I will take night flights whenever possible, window seat, to see the lights and patterns from the air. Monday night, I got to do that from a more personal perspective...a local flying group does a monthly Full Moon Flyout, and I called dibs on the backseat in the Cessna Skylane 182 that Will had reserved for the night. Will as pilot, Matt S. in the right seat, and me kicking back in the was an awesome night.

The evening started out with some glitches, though. I had taken my car in for its annual service earlier in the day, and we were going to pick it up in the afternoon then head to the airport. Got a call with the news that my rear tire had a nail in the inside sidewall; the the technicians did some bubble testing on it to see if it leaked, and it didn't, which was good news. Wisely, Will pointed out that it was better to remove it there and find out it leaked than to find out the hard way at midnight when we got back, so we waited for a bit while they removed the nail and tested the tire. I lucked out, it was only a short stub of a nail that didn't penetrate far into the rubber, but now we were running about 30 minutes late and ran smack into Bay Area traffic (the highways near the Google/Facebook/Microsoft campuses are *not* fun during commute hours).

The other (much bigger) annoyance came as Will was doing his pre-flight checks...the plane had been overfueled by 13 gallons. Not usually a problem, but with the three of us, it meant we needed to burn off some fuel before we could safely take off (fuel is heavy, 6 lbs/gallon, so the weight adds up fast in a small plane). This led to Will doing laps in the KPAO pattern (take off, make the right turn back parallel to the airport, another right turn, land, turn off the runway, taxi down to the start of the runway, get clearance to take off, repeat) for almost an hour before enough fuel was burned off. The hazards of general aviation (GA) could have been worse; when Will flew himself and a friend down to San Diego earlier this month for a work conference, he ended up with a flat tire and a five hour delay before being able to head home.

Once the three of us were in the air, it was beautiful. It was an amazingly clear night, and the full moon on the water was spectacular. I got a few pictures, but they just didn't quite capture it. We were heading north to Charles M. Schultz airport (STS) in Santa Rosa, so we got to see pretty much the entire Bay Area under the full moon. We had dinner at the Sky Lounge with the rest of the flyout group, then headed back to KPAO (Palo Alto airport) with stop-and-go landings at Oakland and San Jose airports (holy crap, do those airports look different from a small plane than the normal passenger jets I see them from).

An awesome night, with awesome company and awesome views...looking forward to the next one.

Silicon Valley at night.

You can see the Bay Bridge lights in the center here.

Another shot of the Bay Bridge. I liked how the grid lined up in this one.

Looking back at the Golden Gate Bridge, with the moon reflecting on the water.

Flying over (Oracle) Coliseum
(photo courtesy of Matt S.)

Downtown San Jose
(photo courtesy of Matt S.)

Landing at SJC (San Jose International)
(photo courtesy of Matt S.)

Monday, February 08, 2016

a (mostly) quiet house

Will is off on a business trip, so I've got the house to myself for a while (well, along with the cat and the dog). Life has settled into somewhat of a routine, complicated (and enforced) by the ongoing neuralgia troubles (the face and scalp nerve damage from the shingles last year). It's been ten months now since it all started, and while I'm better than I was six months ago, it's plateaued...the pain and all that goes with it have hit a holding pattern. I'm completely off the Gabapentin (nerve pain medication), though it's still working its way out of my system; once my body chemistry is back to normal/baseline, I'll be able to better figure out what the next steps should be.

I've been enjoying having some time alone, and I'm also looking forward to Will coming home. Going to be interesting when he does, actually...Will flew himself and a friend down to Southern California; when he left, there were flight restrictions because of the Super Bowl (which was in the Bay Area), so he had to be mindful of times and no-fly zones. When he comes back, there are some serious restrictions over the Bay Area and Southern California as the president comes in, so it's going to be a few days of scouring FAA notices and figuring out flight times and allowable altitudes and the like (well, for Will, that is...I just sit tight and wait until he pings me with their arrival time). It's been fascinating seeing the behind-the-scenes workings of general complicated, so cool.

Because of the pain, it's been a bit of a challenge to get out and about, but I'm very lucky to have awesome friends who are supremely patient with my current limitations. We headed to Oakland with Matt to see round four of the Supercross series, which was really interesting to see live...we did the pre-heat track walk, so crazy to see the jumps and ruts and inclines they negotiate. Hung out with Karen, somehow passing hours talking and driving and just existing for a while, which was a much-needed recharge. Got to hang out with Eric when he stayed overnight before Will flew them down to San Diego for the conference; always awesome to share references and laughs with someone on the same wavelength. Some good friends are having their first baby, very excited for them. New patch and season for Diablo III, so been playing with Will and friends (the changes have made being a witch doctor fun). Lots of new and surprisingly good telly being saved on the DVR (Lucifer, Legends of Tomorrow, Flash, Elementary, and more), the Deadpool movie comes out this week (cue my hipster "I had Deadpool comics before the movie was a thing"), taxes are pretty much done (just the CPA visit in a few weeks to review everything), things keep cranking along.

So anyway, that's life right now. Some days being human and interactive and going out and about and having fun, some days spent useless because of pain (usually following the "oatnaboat" days), some productive days, some lazy days. Basically, life.

(Speaking of life, it's time to feed the dog...his internal clock is astonishingly accurate. It's eerie.)