Thursday, December 18, 2008

0 for 4

Ok, 4 tries, and 0 successes...what a week! This heavy layer of clouds just will not leave. I have gone in before 5 every day this weeks to spend an hour mission planning and about the same amount of time briefing just to cancel each ride (excpet for Monday which still turned out to be an incomplete). The worst thing was that every single time we knew we were going to fly at 0400 when we looked at the weather. So each day we've had to pick the best of all the bases even though it still doesn't have a pattern altitude; just so that we have SOMETHING to brief up. And every day without fail, here's how the briefing goes:

We approach the IP, salute in and start into the brief. I started every brief this week with this statement to the IP: "The weather is awful, we don't even have the mins to take off out of here and there isn't a pattern anywhere. However we picked ________ (location) just so we have something to brief". And then I continue with the briefing. So far all 3 of the past days I've started out with that statement and EVERY SINGLE TIME I'll get a couple more minutes into the brief, give them the weather, and they say along the lines of:
"Wait a minute, the weather there is what? We can't go there!"
My thoughts: "Hello, yes, I told you that at the very beginning of this discussion!"
IP: "Ok, let's pull up all the weather and look at this." About two minutes later: "There is nowhere to go, all the bases are weathered in!"
Me: "Thank you mister obvious..."
IP: "Well why are you briefing this if we can't go there?" "Oh well, I'll guess we'll brief it just for practice"
Me: "Please refer to my very first statment at the beginning this brief..."

Augh, so frustrating. There is absolutely nowhere to go with this weather, but every time we brief we know that somehow whatever we pick will be wrong...What a life.

At least today I did get one thing accomplished that I've been trying to do since getting here. I finally changed the oil on my bike. I've been trying forever to follow the 'rules' of not doing that kind of thing in my own driveway, but every time I've gone there in last couple of months they've been closed. Finally I made it today and they didn't have an oil pan that would fit under the motorcycle. So finally I just broke down, took the 15 minutes and quickly just changed the oil here. So that's done at least. The choke is still giving me problems and it looks like I'll have to make a trip to starkville to get a replacement part to solve that problem.

I'm actually not flying tomorrow, though it's been important for me to be on the board every single other day this week...but at least I don't have to give my completely ignored statement one more time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Centennial Post!

That's right, this is my 100th post according to my blog interface (I certainly haven't been counting them myself)! Well, in recent news on Friday night we went to Rob's house and had about 6 or 7 from the class over there to grill up some food, watch tv, hang out, and sit around the fire. :) He bought a fire pit last Monday and we were itching to try it out! He got wood for it by dumpster diving into the wood waste bins of the construction taking place in housing here on base. We had a great though were up pretty late considering I actually had to go to Cantata practice Saturday morning. That went pretty well and then we all had pizza afterwards in the church cafeteria area too.

That afternoon Phil and Rob and I drove up to Tupelo to do some Christmas shopping. The town was packed with traffic backed up literally for miles! There aren't very many good places to shop around here so I guess everyone else in the area had the same idea as us...ugh, miserable! But we got some good shopping in and I got some wrenches I'd been needing to make some bike work a little easier. Speaking of which, the new battery I'd ordered came in too and I installed that on Sunday. It's awesome, my bike actually starts up now and I don't have to worry about the battery dying on me!

Sunday we had our Cantata in the morning and both Phil and Rob came to that as well. It was really nice having them come out for it after putting all that practice time and work into it. I hope it was a blessing to both of them. After services that morning bro Daniel threw a Christmas party for the singles class and so we all had a great home-cooked meal together. Bro Daniel cooked all the main dishes himself and his wife had cooked the deserts. Lasagna and fixings followed brownie-cheesecake for dessert. How can you top that!

This week has been pretty rough so far in the flying department, though. Yesterday we actually made it off the ground in the hopes that Jackson truly had the weather it was calling and that we would have the cloud clearence for a pattern. No such luck...the bases were at about 500'. At least I got to shoot a localizer and Tacan there, though it was an incomplete ride anyways, obviously. Then today the weather was even worse, to the point where there was no point in picking a base to 'brief' to except for just to have a base to brief up as if we were going to fly. Of course we knew the whole time that we weren't going to make it off the ground. These days are so difficult, though, becaue we are still on formal release and so we do a lot of sitting around. Like I had about an hour after the flight was canceled to get a burrito with Rob and spend a few minutes on the couch at home, and then we had to go to Gen Lorenz's briefing at 10. After that we were told we would have a USEM event so we went back to the flight room and literally sat around for 2 hours thinking we were going to start at any minute before we finally got that done. I would so much rather put in a solid day of WORK than sit around like that, it just drives us all up the wall! Only nice thing is that after 3 people pass their checkrides we'll be off formal release and won't have to wait around like that any more. It looks like we still may have a few check before Christmas, but with these weather days most of us won't check until after we get back. Oh well.

And I have to be up at 0400 again tomorrow, so must be heading to bed. Maybe the weather will be a little better, but doesn't look like it...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quick week

Wow, this week has just flown by! (haha, no pun intended...) I had the flight on Monday and then a sim on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday was the last of my transition sims and was run like a 'checkride profile'. That went pretty well, and then yesterday was my second to last emergency procedures sim with Rob as a sandbag. I always enjoy those because I know everything that could concievably go wrong will, so there's no stress because it can't get any worse! But really we did quite well at handling everything, I was proud of us. At one point we were down to just the standby battery which means I had only a couple of tiny standby instruments to fly off of, no trim, no engine readouts except for the left side engine temp, it was nuts! But we did it and landed safely.

Today we were supposed to fly but the weather's been ugly the past couple of days. Coming out of the gym after we were let off today there was even frozen sludge accumulated on my car. So anyways we had to pick the best of a lot of bad places (as far as weather's concerned) today, and we ended up picking Jackson because it had the best cloud levels. Well, 2 and a half hours later after all of our planning, we had the morning formal brief with all the IPs in there, and on the NOTAM slides it turns out that Jackson's runway is now covered in a half-inch of sludge and has only a 'fair' braking rating for the runways. And then a few slides later is our callsign listed as going to Jackson...Oops. So the IP we were flying with calls out during the 'questions' portion of the brief " I really going to Jackson??" And I had to call out that no, we were going to have to replan the mission now. So after all of that work we weren't even going to where we'd spent all the time planning for and had to change plans in 10 minutes. In the end we didn't even flying because the weather was awful and we could barely even make our climb minimums. On top of all of that, our squadron mission planning room has around 15 computers for our preplanning use, but out of those only about 6 actually work! So that's REALLY frustrating when you're trying to get things done. Oh well.

Tomorrow Rob and I will try to fly again. This will be the first one in the second block of transition for me. It's really not looking like I'll be able to check before Christmas, sadly, but we'll see. 6 rides to go.

Tomorrow night we're planning on inviting the class over to our place to chill out. Rob recently bought a fire pit he'll bring over and we'll get a fire going out on the back porch, and Stew and i will have the BBQ fired up. We might have some people bring guitar hero, maybe throw on a movie (or both, we have enough tvs!). Should be a good time. Then Saturday I have choir cantata practice and then Stew and I will go to Tupelo to do some shopping. Still need to pick up some Christmas presents...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanksgiving +

So, Thanksgiving was a fun time, and the break started out entertaining from the beginning. I woke up really early to be able to make it to Birmingham on my flight to San Antonio on Thanksgiving day. While trying to leave the base I went to the wrong gate and had to make a quick u-turn, and somehow while doing so something I had on the passenger seat (GPS, Ipod, or cellphone, not sure which) distracted me and I ended smashing into the curb at a 45degree angle. With the little blue-light special tires I have on there, the tire took it full force and I had a flat almost immediately. Yeah, so that trip was going well...not even a mile from home! So I pulled over where there was a street lamp and tried to find the best spot to put the jack. Oh, and the jack was only rated for 150lbs max, I way more than that, how's it supposed to pick up the car??? So I put it towards the middle which was the only place with a solid car beam that I could find and proceeded to try to crank it off the ground. Well, after a good 10 minutes of intense work, it wouldn't go any farther. So then I pulled out the owner's manual, and sure enough it was supposed to go at a spot near the tire which I'd thought of at first but it looked like it was only plastic trim there. When I finally got that jacked up, the car then rolled forward a good half foot and wedged the jack at a bad angle. So I had to bring it back down AGAIN and finally jack it back up for a third time. By the time I finally got the tire changed I was a good 50 minutes late. I then proceeded to drive on a donut rated for a max of 50mph at speeds a LOT faster than that.

And my story doesn't end there, the airport was great too. So, after driving like it was Nascar on the interstate I finally make it to the airport only to find that there are NO parking spots left. I ended up parking on the 5th floor of the parking garage but out in the open. There were more floors, but somehow that place for the rejects was not covered. So my car would just have to get rained on then. After that I ran the 10 miles back to the terminal area and tried to get my boarding pass out of the automated computer which told me it wouldn't give me my pass because it was too close to boarding time. How do you not give someone a BOARDING pass because it's too close to BOARDING time? Isn't that the point?? I didn't even have any luggage to check or anything! Then I went over to the counter and stood behind another couple waiting on the lady behind the desk who held a phone up to her ear for a good 5 or 6 minutes and then hung up, after having said absolutely nothing the entire time. She appologized and the couple said it was ok because they had couple of hours to spare. So I barged in with 'hey, I'm trying to catch the 815!' Of course, then she wouldn't give me my boarding pass and I started arguing because I could see that there was literally not a single person in the security line, and the gate was right beyond that. Of course, while I was arguing with her that I still had time and could make the flight if she would only hand me my boarding pass they then came on the intercom and announced that they were starting to board my flight. I could have made it! But she was not going to work with me at all; and to top it off, she wouldn't even get me onto the next flight either! I had to stand in front of her and on my own cell phone CALL Continental and rearange for the new ticket on the phone! How useless was this woman! Then I turned around and got my new boarding pass from the automated machine...I hate airlines. At least I still made it, but they charge me an extra $50 for the change of course; though thankfully I still got into San Antonio at the same time I was going to originally as I could still catch the same connection flight after the Birmingham leg.

Chuck and Skibby met me at the airport and we went back and hung out at the Air Force Inn at Lackland there until we met everyone else that evening at the Marriot. Then all the guys went down to the river walk with Jon for the evening which was pretty cool. I'd heard about the river walk but never seen it before. Saturday evening was the wedding, which was absolutely beautiful. It was held out in a courtyard area which was really well kept with beautiful scenery for a wedding ceremony out at a little pagoda. And I even got to have a part in the wedding as they'd asked me to read a coupld of passages of scripture!

Then the wedding dinner and everything was held afterwards just about a block away. It was a lot of fun and I thought it was a really nice wedding. It was close family and friends which is nice because it seems like everyone knows every one else. Here's a picture of some of us chatting after the dinner. Can you tell we were having fun?

Saturday I had to leave but we had time in the morning to walk and get brunch (Me, Skibby, Chuck, Allan, and Becky) and then we even walked down so I could see the Alamo! It definitely doesn't look like I thought it would, but still a pretty cool place right in the middle of downtown San Antonio. I'd have a picture but evidently Allan and Becky's hard drive had an accident and it was one of many casualties of war, although probably the least. (Sorry guys, I know how that feels!!)

So then Saturday afternoon Scott dropped me off at the airport and I got home around midnight after driving the whole way back from Birmingham in a thick fog. I really enjoyed the weekend, though, it was a great time! I hadn't seen most of them in a year and a half, but it's so neat with friends that close because we always pick up like it's only been a week and a half. Since my last post I've also had an 86 ride for the big break in flying I had. They are used to just bring you back up to speed after a while out of the jet. And, as of today I am now finally done with the first block of transition. So, only 6 rides to my first check ride! Hoping to have that done before Christmas, but we'll see. This week is to be pretty busy with a flight today, sim tomorrow, flight Wednesday, sim Thursday, and who knows what on Friday! Saturday morning we have a cantata practice at church too.

This past Sunday Jonny was back at Lighthouse. They've moved to NC but his reserve unit is still the unit here at Columbus so he'll be in and out of here for a while yet. After morning service we went out to Subway and had a good time chatting and catching up a bit. I really appreciate him and always enjoy talking to him. He and his wife did so much for the youth group even since I've been here, it was really neat to see it just grow exponentially. And now I need to be getting off. I think my wireless just died on this computer of mine, so who knows when I'll actually get this posted, but I need to be heading towards bed.
Oh, but here's a picture of me first in front of the T-1 because I've been told by some they don't actually read anything I write, just look at the pictures.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Had a good Saturday today. Got a lot of misc errands done around the house including purchasing my Christmas tickets. This afternoon Phil and I went out with a mission to find a shooting range somewhere around here. Since it is Mississippi we figured it should be pretty easy to find a spot since there is so much empty land around here and so many gun-carrying locals and hunters. Well...we ended up driving around for a long time! Eventually we started taking roads that looked like they'd get us farther and farther from civilization. Finally we ended up just parking under a bridge and hiking out into some woods next to a river and setting up some trash left there by some campers to shoot at against a burm. We didn't shoot any of his rifles as it was just too close of an area but we did get to shoot through a few clips of my .45 and his .22. It was nice because I just HAD to try out my new pistol, but we've definitely got to find a better and easier place to shoot in the future!

Yesterday we really had almost nothing at all to do. It was a report to fly day so Phil and I just went in at 8 for holiday safety briefings and then came back and chilled until a little after 12. Then we went in to be ready for a USEM event and some flightline academics. Well, we ended up sitting around until after 5 o'clock just waiting on the USEM to finally do something with us! It was the rudest thing because they changed the schedule by taking the event and classes off the board, but didn't bother to inform a single one of us. Then we had to ask them about the USEM event and he finally told we'd still have one but 'not right now', which evidently is supposed to mean 'about three hours from now'. So again we sat around doing nothing (most of us had studied so much up to this point that there was no more to be gained from it) in the squadron heritage room, and then decided we'd move into the flight room just to give him the hint that we were ready to do this thing and get out of there! So we all moved into the flight room and set up the chairs and all for the USEM event while he continued to sit at his computer and read emails and completely ignore all of us. Then, he sat around just chatting and joking for over an hour with a few other IPs and then finally just got up and left the room with them without saying a thing to us!! So again we sat and waited. Finally the flight commander came in very surprised to still see us there and asked what we were doing. We said we were wondering that ourselves! Finally he found this guy and brought him back in and he eventually told us that we'd just go ahead and take one of our no-notice tests. This was after 5!! Our first event was supposed to have started at 2! So needless to say we were pretty ripped about all of this. That's just completely out of line and shows a complete lack of mutual respect on their part, and certainly does nothing to bolster our respect for them. To make things worse this guy was just a 1Lt, still an Lt like the rest of us! Anyways, anywhere else and this kind of thing just would not fly; only in this silly training environment could he get away with wasting 13 other peoples' time without even keeping us informed as to what was going on for over 3 hours. I couldn't believe it, just try doing something like that with some airmen working for you and see if you EVER get respect or 100% devotion out of them again! I think not!

That kind of thing just makes me mad, I understand 'training environment' type things but when you disrespect me and waste my time without even communicatng with me as a fellow human-being and servicemember, I find that very hard to swallow! Enough said!

After work last night we then went and watched the new Bond movie Quantum Solace. It was decent but again pretty different from the traditional 007 movies: still no gadgets or anything like that at all!

Looking forward to being back in Lighthouse again tomorrow, it's been 2 weeks! Going now to shower then bed...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back after a month

So, just to update from my last post (a month ago almost to the day), I did finally get the bike sold to John Howell at church. I'm hoping it's a blessing for him especially in saving gas back and forth to college.

I'm not even going to try to remember everything that's gone on in the last month, but I will update a bit on any 'spotlight' occasions I can remember and a few things from really recent history.

First and foremost on my heart and mind is the passing of my Grandpa Lee. Last Wednesday he was in a fatal motorcycle accident. From what's been put together so far he was safely following the vehicle in front of him through a green light when a lady coming from 90 degrees off ran her redlight, smashed into the car in front of him, and then spun and ran into him headlong causing Grandpa Lee to highside over his motorcycle. He was airlifted to the trauma unit but never regained consciousness. My grandma was called almost 2 hours later and told he was in the trauma unit getting brain scans, and I was called soon after and heard the message right after a morning class. I called around and let Kenny and Cindy know to be praying, and then continued inside to work on planning for the mission I had scheduled that morning. A little later I got another message, this one from Dad that I needed to call no matter the time of night for them as soon as possible and that he had something to tell me, and immediately I feared the worst. After talking to them outside I pulled myself together enough to let Ben know so he could continue planning and then to talk to the flight commander who immediately told me to take the rest of the day.

I spent the rest of the day on the phone or next to the phone talking and grieving with my family. It was a really hard day and just came as such a shock. Thankfully I was able to take emergency leave and I left really early Saturday morning to fly out of Birmingham. It worked out well because 5 of us coming in on 4 different flights were all arriving within 1 hour of each other, and then we even were picked up by a limo from Kelby's driving service. It was great to see Cindy and Mom again, but I wish it was under different circumstances. I'm really glad mom could make it from Indonesia, but sadly Dad couldn't come. Kenny came in early Sunday morning and had the privilege of 'waking me up' that morning. It's funny how some things never change...

The time was pretty rough for the whole family, Grandpa Lee, while not blood, could not have been closer if he were my 'blood' grandfather. He really took all of us as his own family and played a big role in my life, especially in going into the air force. He was even the one to commission me into the Air Force the night before graduation. I'll always hold on to that special memory, it was just so neat to have him be the one to swear me in.

The viewing and service were then on Monday, and Josh actually drove all the way up from Richmond to be there for that as well, which was a real blessing to me to have such a close friend at my side during that time. It was really awesome too because a lot of folk from our church family in Richmond even came out. The Bennetts (spelling?), Sears, and Heather came out on Sunday, and then the Hoffmans, Mr Long and Steven, and Pastor all came out on Monday for the service and viewing as well.

On Monday the family had some time alone upstairs with Grandpa Lee, and then the viewing lasted for a few hours followed by the service and then last moments upstairs and the closing of the casket, which really just broke my heart to see them lowering my grandpa and then closing the lid. I'm so glad the Lord allowed me to be there even if all I could do was put my arm around Grandma's shoulders and cry with her. I then returned Tuesday afternoon and got in here around 2 AM on Wednesday in time to get a couple of hours of sleep before reporting. Grandpa Lee's funeral will be tomorrow at Quantico. They looked into Arlington first, but the waiting list was just far too long. i wish I could be there for that as well to pay my final respects, but there's no way I could have taken that much time off.

So far, though, I've still yet to fly since coming back, and won't be tomorrow either. So by the time I do, it will have been over a two week break in training! Oh well...The good news is I aced the last academic test ever today. That means in all of the T-1 academic tests I missed 1 question total. Not bad, if I do say so myself!

In most recent news, I finally broke down and bought the pistol I've been wanting to get for a while. After comparing a bunch again today I finally went with the Springfield .45 1911 Champion which is there model with the shorter barrel. I have a couple of close friends with 1911s and they both love them, and I really like the way they fired too. So, our mission this weekend is to find a good place to go shooting. That and get some laundry done...ahh...the adventurous life of AF pilots...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Both bikes running; potential buyer

Well, I literally spent most of this past weekend trying to get my motorcycles up and running. The Intruder's battery was dead after sitting for 2 weeks before I could talk to the safety rep and get his blessing to ride again so I had to fix that first. However, the bike was not made for easy access to anything. The battery sits under the frame in a little box and you have to get it to drop out of there through a little hinged door on the bottom. But of course there were connections at the top that had to be taken off first, including 2 more random wires attached to the + and - terminals and then nothing else. (I figured later that these must be for emergency jumping or charging the battery since they are in an easier place to get to than trying to take the whole battery out) So I finally got the battery out Saturday and then spent the day shopping for the oil, oil filter, and coolant I want to flush and replace and looking for a replacement maintenance free battery. However, I kept the battery I have as i soon found that batteries are NOT cheap! So I bought a charger instead and let the battery charge overnight. So my plan was to do the oil change and coolant flush on Sunday between services. However, we had an even earlier choir practice than usual as we need to get ready for the Cantata, so I wasn't left with much time. Then I spent a while trouble shooting the battery.

When I first got it in there, I turned the key and got no indicator lights. That's bad...So I messed with the connections a bit, and this time the lights came on! So I got on the bike and went to start it: *click*, lights go back out... That's not right! So I fiddled with everything again, got the lights back on, and tried it again: *click* rumrumrum *click* lights out. Agh! This happened about 3 times and I finally disconnected everything and tried cleaning the leads which looked pretty clean to me anyways. But actually, the negative terminal lead had a bunch of grime on the side I couldn't see. So I put it all together again, got the lights, and no more just *click-nothing*. After a couple of turn-overs on the starter, I had a running bike again! Woohoo! I had about an hour and a half to go so I hopped on the bike and drove it over to the auto hobby shop: only to find they're closed on Sundays and Mondays. Agh again! So anyways, I decided this would be a good time to check up on my 500 which has been sitting in the lot for about a month or two now, and sure enough it's battery was dead too. So I dug that one out and got it charging that afternoon.

Sunday morning at church I had been approached by a gentleman and college freshman son whose a friend of mine and they asked about trying out the bike. They may be interested in purchasing it if it's what he needs, but of course of the price is a little high. And I said, yeah, I know! That's so I have room to barter down, honestly! So I got the 500 running again today after work and then dropped it off at their house this evening. So, we'll see if they want to buy it or not, and I'm hoping they do! I'd really like to sell that thing at this point!

Tomorrow morning is a 445 report for Ben and I for our sim, so it's going to be an early night tonight! So far we've both worked really well together and all our study sessions have really paid off. All the instructors we've had sims with so far have commented that they can tell we've been putting some good study in. So I'm praying that continues with tomorrow's sim.

And speaking of prayer, please be in prayer for my Dad who's been really sick for a few days now. In other news, Kimberly has made it home, but please keep her in prayer as well as her muscle tone is really down after having been in ICU strapped up to IVs and all for so long.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back from hiatus

Wow, it's almost been 2 weeks since my last update! Part of the reason for that is that not much has really been going on with training besides class, tests, and a couple of sims now. Everything is going really well so far, I've only missed 1 question so far on the 3 tests we've taken, and we'll be taking number 4 tomorrow morning. Both of the sims I've had so far have gone really well, and Ben and I were told at the last one that we're definitely above average for this stage of the game. For this whole transition portion of T-1 training we're assigned to a pilot partner and we'll be flying everything with that other person. However, since we have an odd number in our class, Ben and Rob are both on my team, but so far Rob's been the only one to be traded out to sim with other people from our class. We've all put in a lot of extra time together going over stuff and trying to get checklists, call-outs, and the other basics down. Tonight I have another sim with Ben which will be like the last one but we'll each be getting 3 landings in. At this point the focus is still mostly on checklists and crew coordination, but we're expected to at least be able to put it on the ground and all safely too. I'm really enjoying the sims so far, it's totally different flying a crew jet like this now where I don't do anything but actually fly if I'm in the pilot's seat, and the copilot is the one flipping switches and dropping the gear and flaps, making the radio calls, etc. It's the complete opposite of the T-6 where you just pretended you were in there all by yourself and had to do EVERYTHING! I like this better, it suits my personality just fine.

This past weekend I made it out to see all my family in Montgomery. Michelle just had Kimberly early last Monday so I was excited to be able to make it out there. However, please be in prayer for her as she's had some complications and is still in the hospital. Hopefully she'll be getting out any day now as she's made a lot of really good progress in being able to eat by herself and everything, but they're being careful not to let her go home too early if some complications could arise. It's understandable, but I know it's hard on Luke and Michelle to have not even taken their baby home yet! But I must say, she is the cutest little thing! When I saw her she even a pretty red bow in her hair (and she's got a lot of hair already!) and was looking really good. They said they'd seen a big change in her skin color and everything by that point too. Luke and I also took Kaitlyn out the park on Saturday to feed bread to the ducks, and there had been a big dog convention type event so she got to see a lot of 'puppies' which Kaitlyn just loved!

However, on the way out there on Friday I had an interesting trip. I pulled over a rest stop on the way towards Birmingham about an hour and a half from here, and I went in and did my business. On the way back to the car I thought I could really go for a green tea. However, I only had a dollar bill and they were $1.35. So I went back and unlocked my car and got in to get change and then went back to the machine and got my green tea. However, when I turned around to go back to the car I patted my pocket to then reach in to get my keys (I don't know what's up with that, but it's a habit I have. Before I take anything out of my pockets I usually pat that pocket to feel that it's in there and then grab the item). However, I didn't feel anything, so I patted it again. Then I actually reached in my pocket for it (of course there's nothing there!); and then I checked all my other pockets at least 3 or 4 times as my heart slowly drops. Sure enough, I went back to the car and there were my keys locked inside just sitting on the front seat laughing at me. So I went in and found a coat hanger and tried for 30 minutes without success to get it unlocked. Finally I decided to call my insurance company, but I didn't have their number since the information was also locked in my car in the glove box. So I started calling around to everone I could think of who would have access to the number and finally got the info. So it wasn't until over an hour later that they finally got a truck out there for me and the guy opened it up in 2 minutes flat. He didn't use the flat bar, though. He actually wedged the door open from the top of the frame and inserted a bag which he inflated with a hand pump that pushed the door out. Then he just reached in with a long hook and manually unlocked the door from the inside. So, anyways, the 3.4 hour trip turned into about a 6+ hour trip that night... But at least I got to talk to Chuck and Kenny for a while as I sat around waiting forever.

Then, last night, I stepped out my house door locking it behind me and then checked my pocket for my car keys. And it was Friday all over again. Sure enough, I'd locked myself out of my house. So I tried to break in with a credit car, and that didn't work with the doors here, so Rob was able to find the emergency maintenance number for the houses here. After calling them once and not hearing anything over an hour later I called back. They promised to contact the guy again (who should have left already an hour ago), and then he finally called me. First thing he asked me (in a voice that said "why are you bothering me with this?") was if I had a spare key or if someone there had another key I could use! I wanted to say: "oh, yeah, of course, I have another key right here but I just thought I'd wait around outside my house in the dark getting eaten alive by mosquitoes waiting for you to get here!"). So he tells me he'll be here in 45 minutes. So over 2 hours later I finally got in my house. I would have been to church and back earlier than locking myself out!! So much for 'emergency' maintenance! My house could have burned down, flooded, or blown up 5 times by the time he got here! Luckily I just hung out with Rob next door most fo the time after I figured out he wasn't showing up immediately so it's not like I was stuck right outside. But I never ever do that kind of stuff and it's happened to me now twice in less than a week! Good times...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Anniversary Sunday

We did have a great service this morning. The group Mercy's Well sang for the whole sunday school hour and then most of the morning service as well and then Pastor spoke. Then, this was great, he dismissed everyone who wasn't going to stay for the afternoon service and THEN we all (those staying for the service) went into the fellowship hall and had a big lunch together. Two of our teens preached for that following service and both did a great job. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon lazing around and playing WoW. I've really got to start getting ahead on academics this coming week. I think I've been lazy enough the past few days to get it out of my system and it's time to start hitting the proverbial grind-stone.

Chaos seems to be doing pretty well now. His paws seem to be closing up nicely enough that after 2 accidents right next to the litter box (hello, dude, I disprove of this shredded-paper business, where's my normal litter?!?) I've put back on his clumping litter. They seem to be just bothering him now as he sleeps most of the time and is real careful when walking around. He has a habit of just briskly shaking one paw and then the other but I think he's coming along pretty well. He should be getting back to almost 100% within the next week or so as long as nothing unforseen happens. For now I'm sure the little brat will just continue storing at me and whining whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Friday, October 3, 2008

T-1 Test #1 Complete; Chaos Declawed

Today was our first test in T-1 academics: Systems 01. It was a pretty easy test and like most of the rest of the class I got 100% on it. However, we were supposed to take the test at 8 this morning, and we showed up only to find that the network was down and we couldn't log in to take the test. So we ended up sitting around until 1030 while they tried to figure out what to do with us. They didn't even want to move on to the next lesson because it's on powerpoint, but that's what they ended up doing anyways. The lesson was on the T-1 electrical system and our instructor handed out a diagram at the beginning that, to me, looked like someone had spilled spaghetti and boxes onto the page. It was really cool, because our instructor just did an awesome job at explaining it. He drew the entire thing from memory onto the board one piece at a time (which we will have to be able to do as well on one of three systems for our checkride), and then explained how everything worked together and essentially the 'why' behind each part, which really made a lot of sense! I think all of us were amazed that he was actually able to make us understand it! Then, when that class was over, the network was still down so they finally went into their vault and dusted off the old paper copys of the test so we could finally take it after sitting around for 3 hours. But, at least we got it done today, none of us really wanted to sit around all weekend with the test hanging over our heads.

Then I went over to the flight room. I haven't been able to ride my motorcycle for over a week since I hadn't been able to find time with the 'safety' guy in our flight to sprinkle his holy water and pronounce me a safely 'prepared' rider. So I ended up waiting in the flight room for almost an hour while he debriefed a flight. Thankfully though I did finally got him and I'm cleared to ride again. I've missed my bike after a whole week!

Also, in the past week, I've confirmed that I'm going to room with Phil, so I've had to break down and as part of the deal get Chaos declawed. So early Wednesday morning I got up and crammed the poor cat in his box to take him to the vet. But, he wasn't allowed to eat anything for 12 hours prior to that, so the dumb thing kept waking me up all night long. Every time I'd move he'd jump up on the bed and prowl around my head and meow: 'hey, idiot, feed me! And what'd you do to my water bowl??' So anyays I dropped him off and then picked him up on Thursday afternoon after classes and all. The poor was just so upset when I got him that he couldn't stand to stay in the box for the 30 minute ride back home. He kept complaining and fidgeting so I kept trying to pet him through the holes in the box to keep him calm. Finally when we were already coming up to the gate I guess he just couldn't stand it any more and just started pawing wildly at the box and of course busted the wounds open so that he was bleeding all over the place when we finally got home and I got him out of the box. So I closed him up in my bathroom with his food, water, and litter box (now with shredded paper so the clumping litter doesn't get in his feet) and a pile of old towels. I left him in there most of the evening so he wouldn't be moving around and he did stop bleeding. When I finally let him out he went straight to his favorite happy place: diggin under the covers on my bed. He was still there when I went to bed and has spent a lot of time there the last 2 days. Poor guy, I can tell he's still hurting...But today he seems to be doing really well, and looking at his paws they look like they should heal up just fine, he just needs to take it easy for about a week or so.

We also had an Unmanned Aerial Systems brief for almost 2 hours yesterday to fill us in on what's going on with the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles like the predator, globalhawk, etc) selections. It's been 'decreed' that starting with the first class graduating in 2009 that 10% of UPT grads will go straight into UAVs. This has caused a lot of controversy because most guys would rather not go into UAVs. Also, we signed up to fly 'real' aircraft by going to UPT, not UAVs. However, on the other hand, we ARE in a war right now, and our first job is to do what the Air Force and our country need us to do! The brief was really informative, I'm glad they brought them in to fill us in on everything. At this point, I really don't think I'd PREFER UAVs or anything (the one and only base they're currently controlled from is not a great place to be. It's in the middle of nowhere Nevada about 2 hours from Vegas). But, at the same time, they are promising us that we won't be locked into UAVs forever, but that we'll do it for 3 years and then move on to a primary aircraft from there. Also, this is the wave of the future, UAVs is where the air force is really heading and it wouldn't be bad for my career to be in on the ground floor of it all. So, anyways, I'm not volunteering for them right now or anything, but at least I know a little better what to expect from the field. I think I'd still rather start out in C-17s...But I'm leaving it all in the Lord's hands and I'm going to sit back and see how the next 6 months of T-1s goes.

This Sunday is going to be pretty cool. It's the 17th anniversary of Lighthouse Baptist and they're having the trio Mercy's Well come and sing for us for the morning service. Then we'll have a big lunch in the fellowship hall followed by an afternoon service where two of the kids from the youth group will preach. Everyone in the church has been inviting people and we've even had announcements on a couple of local radio stations inviting people to come. So we should have a good number there for the service, and it should be a great Lord's day. I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The real day 1

This morning we reported to the flight room again and we starting 'ground training 01' which was basically just an intro and some more policies and all from the commander. I'm still off my motorcycle until I can talk to our motorcycle safety guy in the flight, who I've not been able to catch. So far like everyone who's taught us today has had some more of message of doom about motorcycle riding and riders. How I'm going to kill myself, lose training, etc. It's been very comforting...I mean seriously, bunch of worriers, I mean people get hurt all the time doing mundane every-day things. Let alone going up and flying an airplane when you have no idea what you're doing...hello? THAT'S not dangerous? And you want to complain to me about riding a motorcyle a mile and a half to work every day? Anyways, you can tell they're not motorcycle material. It's pretty cool, though, because our new wing commander has a couple of motorcycles himself. The riders will live on!

We then had several hours of class with the T-1 instructors and then I put in about 4 hours of computer based training. Nice thing I finished up everything for tomorrow morning as well so I'm pretty much free until the afternoon when we have pictures. I'll probably still go in at some point though and get ahead some more. I'd like to use the morning to start memorizing boldface and ops limits, and then maybe start on the flaps checklists and all we need memorized by the first day on the flight line as well.

I just finished calling up a bunch of clinics and vets in the area and think I've found where I'm going to take Chaos to get his front paws declawed. (there's no real reason to get the back ones). They say it's best to do it when they're kittens, but it's a little late for that...he's still a young cat so this shouldn't be a problem. The procedure is actually going to be a lot cheaper than I first thought (certainly cheaper than replacing a couch!) Oh yeah, the whole reason I'm doing this now is that it's going to work out for me to move in with a guy in my class named Phil since his room mate got T-44s and will be leaving at the end of October. It'll work out well because Ryan is supposed to leave sometime in the middle of the month or so. So Phil and I will both be needing a room mate, he's got a 4-bedroom house compared to my 3-bedroom, so it looks like I'll be the one doing to moving. I'm just happy I don't have to go to the dorms! Anyways, Phil has some nice furniture including a suede couch that he understandibly doesn't want the cat to scratch, so part of the deal is that I get poor Chaos declawed. From the sound of it he won't be too happy with me for a couple of days after the procedure, but he'll get over it! So I'm going to call back tomorrow and he may be getting the surgery this Friday and they'll keep him overnight and I'll pick him up on Saturday.

Not much went on this past weekend. Friday night I just chilled around the house and then slept in on Saturday. I did my shopping, went to the gym, and then picked up Leroy and Tyrone and we went to the mens activity. They'd fried up several kinds of fish, coleslaw, french fries, onion rings, and hush puppies along with a couple of desserts. It was some good food! Then we had a short devotion and then put together a game of football with me and Pastor Jimmy being the only two adults playing. It was a good time! There was also a party going on at the house of one of our classmates, but by the time I got home I just really didn't feel like going all the way back out there just to stay a short time with a bunch of already drunk people and then turn around and come home in time to get enough sleep for Sunday just to say that I showed up to the event. I did kind of feel bad since I was one of only a couple of our guys who didn't show...but I'll survive I guess. ;)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Track select: T-1s!

Track select was yesterday and praise the Lord I got T-1s like I was hoping for! We had a breakfast in the heritage room as a class and with all guests (parents, friends, etc) and then a mission brief presenting to the families the mission of Columbus AFB. Then we had a mock formal brief and standup so the families could see what it's like for us every morning. For the EP there was a gremlin latched onto the wing holding up both radio antennas and a really big hammer and laughing at you! Two guys got sat down before someone could get the gremlin off (by climbing until the gremlin gets hypoxic and then spinning to knock it off). The rest of the morning was for RSU tours, flight line tours, and then lunch. In the afternoon sims were blocked off so that guests could get a shot at 'flying' the T-6 as well.

Then we all showed up at the O-club at 1600 for the 'festivities' to begin. We then went to another room with just our classmates, IPs, and the upper wing leadership for a toast and a shot. The wing commander even commented when he went over to the tray with all the whiskey shots on it: "hey, one of these is not like the others!" Yeah...that was my shot of pepsi, which I of course proceeded to 'shoot' like a champion! Too bad it had gone a little flat... Then we all went into the big audience room where we stood to the shide with a big slide presentation up front as they brought us up one by one. Each of us had a unique and funny slide a script that our classmates had written about us pertaining to the 10% rule (10% truth). Some of them were pretty cruel! But all were hilarious. Then we would step up, spin the prop, and the slide would blink through all 4 of the planes, pause, and then show the track that you got selected for. We had 3 T-38s total (1 guard, 2 active), 3 T-44s, no Helos, and the rest of us were T-1s. All 3 of the 38s were from my flight, and 2 of 3 44s were as well, so we're down from 11 to only 6 of us going into the T-1s, and then 7 of our lightning brethren joining us there as well. It was a fun night, though there were a few people who were surprised/disappointed, but that's inevitable.

We then met with our new flight commander for 10 minutes and he introduced himself and gave us a welcome packet and all. Then this morning we met in the flight for a real quick brief and then grabbed a bunch of new pubs and print-outs for the next 3 weeks of academics. But, we were out by a little after 12 today, so that was nice!

Last night Ryan and I took our bikes out to Proffet's Porch, which is a restaurant here that's literally out in the middle of no where. We were on a dirt road for a couple of miles just to get there, but I'd always wanted to try it and he'd finally found out how to get there. However, my bike overheated by the time we got there and had some coolant leaking out the overflow line and I could hear what sounded like it that wasn't good. I don't know if the dust was the problem or what, but I'm planning on flushing out the cooling system tomorrow and doing an oil change on it as well since I'm not sure when either one was done last. It did fine all the way back home, so I'm hoping it's not a recurring problem. Other than that, no real plans for the weekend so I'm going to start getting into some of this T-1 stuff. It's a LOT of new material to learn so the more I space it out the better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All's well...

This is funny...for once there's really not much to post about, and I'm actually posting. So why don't I keep up on here when there ARE things to write about? One's of this life's great mysteries I suppose.

Yesterday I only had to go in around 11 to sit FIDO for a couple of hours, and then I was off for the day. Today I only have to be in at 1 for end-of-phase feedback from our flight commander. Also, 09-10 seems to be 'busy' and has requested that one of us do their snacko shopping for them which of course then falls to me. So I'll probably be making a store run this afternoon as well. Lazy kids, nobody ever restocked the place for us!

The nice thing is that I've got tons of time to be hitting the gym which I've definately been doing this week. Cindy and I are still in competition to lose 10 lbs so I've got to make some headway on that! I've been eating like a rabbit so far this week with mostly fruits and vegetables with a little chicken thrown in. Diet is half of the game! Anyways, heading out to the flight room and then restocking, gym, and church this evening. Good times!

Monday, September 22, 2008

3 Days to track selct, welcome 09-14!

This morning was not the 'day off' I had anticipated. I want a refund! We had to show up before 0815 to do a full formal report for 09-14 who are the ones replacing us. I did an intel brief on the Mirage 2000 which I put together last night, and then I got stood up too. Our USEM (the guy who leads the EP and knowledge stuff) is new, so he wanted to put a hard face on things. So he told me before that he was going to stand me up, and that he wanted me to stutter through the boldface so that he could sit me down. So I actually sat there thinking about how I was going to mess something up, instead of thinking about how to do it right for once... Anyways, I got to be sat down and looked like an idiot who still doesn't know what he's doing in front of the new guys, but I'm sure they got the point! Then we had to wait around for a couple of hours doing nothing until we could take 5 minutes to swap out pubs with them. The guy I swapped with is an '07 USAFA grad like myself, and the poor sod it just now starting!! I wish we had more time with them, though, because he had a lot of good questions and I was sharing a ton of info with him as quickly as possible before their next brief started. Nobody talked to us at all from the previous class, and it really would have helped to know a little bit more about the expectations so we were trying to pass on a little knowledge to these guys. Oh well, they'll figure it out just like we did. So anyways, I didn't get home until past noon, and there have been shorter 'working' days than that! So much for a free day, about that refund...But really I'm just whining, it wasn't a big deal at all.

So I'm going to be washing my motorcycle today as I haven't had the chance since I took it to Montgomery and back a few weeks back. It's pretty dirty, but beyond that there are about a million dead bugs on the windshield since the trip back was at night and that's when they all come out. I'm probably going to need a chisel at this point!

Ok, I'll move back to the weekend now. Friday was really nice and short. We were off before noon and had no work left to do. I basically chilled here for most of the day and I think I even got a nap in at some point. Then we had the Church Chat at lighthouse that evening. There had been a huge amount of rain earlier in the day, but it cleared up enough so that I made it there and back on my bike. Then it started to really come down again about 30 minutes after I got home! Anyways the chat went really well, though the attendance was significantly lower than usual. But I had a great time talking and fellowshipping, and then everyone kind of had like a 40 minute group discussion at the end of the devotion too, it was nice. I then went over to the gym and a few of us hit a volleyball back and forth for a bit before we all left.

Saturday I slept in a bit and then got my shopping and all done. I actually ran into Bro Jonny there, and he was like, 'you still good for tonight?' Poor guy, I wanted to be like, 'oh shoot, that's tonight? I didn't tell you? I can't do the lesson, I'm so sorry. You've got 3 hours to put something together, ready...go!' Hehe! But I resisted, I don't think anybody needs that added stress. :) So, yeah, around 430 the lighthouse bus showed up near the running park here and we all went across the street to a little pavilion with some tables and benches and I gave the devotion there. I called it 'Joy of a Thankful Heart' and based it from Phil 1. I got a bunch of ideas from the 6-week study of Philippians I did out of a devotion book by Ran Hummel I got at the WILDS. It just really spoke to me, and I'd taken a lot of notes so I just turned that into a lesson. My prayer was just that the Lord would use it to touch some hearts, and I think it did as I had several people come to me that night and the next day and tell me they appreciated it. Which is really encouraging! We don't realize sometimes how a little bit of encouragement can really go a long way, and I appreciate them telling me that! Jonny also told me later that it had just been a crazy day and he really thanked me for doing the devotion and all, so it was probably good that I didn't joke with him at the BX!

Then we all went bowling and I played on a lane with 4 of the older teens. We had a great time and I got to know each of them a little bit better. Sadly, my bowling was just awful. I actually started out really good, getting a spare in each of the first 4 or 5 lines, but then it just plummeted from there and I got like 4 gutter balls in a row. The second game was no better...oh well, I guess I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon!

Sunday morning we finished up a month-long study in Sunday School on resisting temptation and Satan. Bro Daniel did a really good job with that study. Then pastor was back Sunday morning and preached a really good sermon. Especially since he used me as a prop! Hah! But no, he actually did have his son, me, and another man in the church come up to the front and used all 3 of us as props to demonstrate the concept of salvation.

Then last night was a fund raiser for the youth so I picked up Leroy and Tyrone on my way to choir practice, which I just joined yesterday as well! (it was a momentous Sunday, I guess). The timing actually works out well as they're just starting on the Christmas cantata, so I'm getting in on the ground of that. Then the teens served sloppy joes and everyone just put in a donation as they went through the line. When I left last night they had just tallied up over $1000 for the youth group from the church! Praise the Lord for people who care so much about the youth, I mean, it was only sloppy joes, but they were giving to benefit the next generation. So that was pretty cool to see.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One week to track select

Not much has gone on the last couple of days, wich is really nice for a change! Yesterday I had 4 hours in the RSU doing recorder, and before that I got some shopping done for the squadron snacko store. Then today I had the T-38 sim where you basically fly the exact same ILS over and over again but you start at 200 knots and add 50 each time until you do it the last time at 600 knots. Things happen pretty quickly when you're moving that ridiculously fast! I actually thought I did pretty well! The only time I crashed was on the very first one and that's because I just blew straight through the decision height after focusing on somethign else. Then for the last 5 mintues or so the IP cleared the weather and I just flew around for fun including buzzing the tower and doing some aerobatics. Then Downing and I ran to the commissary to stock the snackshop once again. I think as of today we've officially turned it all over to the next flight in line, or at least I hope we did! I'm sick of people always complaining to me about not having their specific brand of soda or chocolate bar there when they want it. I then got home at a decent time of the afternoon, hit the gym, did some laundry, and worked on my lesson.

Tomorrow we've got a commander's call at 9, and then we'll meet back in the squadron briefly after that, and then we should be done for the day! I have Monday off too, which will make it a really nice and long weekend. I'd be going to Montgomery but the weekend won't work out. Tomorrow night is a church chat, and those are always a great time. Then Saturday the youth are going bowling and I've started working on the lesson I'll be giving then. Should be a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

T-6 Complete!

That's right, I'm done! Flew my last flight ever in the T-6 today! (unless, God forbid, I get FAIPed back here...ugh, I sure hope not!) Today was my formation check ride with Machen, and it actually went really well on my part, I thought. Machen called knock-it-off like 3 different times, once during his Extended Trail lead and twice during my ET lead. Thankfully, everything stayed safe so there was no hooking of the flight. But, it did tend to throw our groove off. I was the one to lead back, and we entered the pattern as number 11 and 12!! (12 is the max allowed in the pattern at one time). First time I tried to land, a plane was cleared out onto the runway to take off right in front of me, so I had to go around. The check IP was like 'what in the world are you doing?!?' And I was like, 'There's a plane on the runway!!' So he took the jet and tried to get a closed pull but we ended up having to go all the way around the pattern. Then the second time I perched and made my gear down call, the exact same thing happened and we had to go around again! This time we did pull closed, and I landed it after that with no problem. The debrief on GK and EP was really easy, in fact there wasn't even an EP involved, but you won't hear me complaining! Only thing I didn't like was that this guy is a hard grader. For instance, I got downgraded on 'droning' in the ET, but that's because my wing called knock-it-off twice and then took forever to get back in! And, I got downgraded for the planes coming out on the runway in front of me, how's that my fault?!? Anyways, talking to others it turns out this guys about the hardest grader in check flight, and I ended up with an 8G. So at least I passed. It looks like that's the highest grade he's given out so far too. One of our guys who checked with him before me is ranked in our top 2 or 3 flyers and he got a 12G, so I guess I can be happy with my score. Especially since I'm not trying for T-38s or anything!

Ok, now I'll back track to the weekend. Saturday turned out just awesome. I got a call from Bro. Chuck around 0830, and he was feeling a lot better and was actually going to make it! So I met him and Tyrone and Leroy (brothers) at the commissary and got everything we'd need and then we went and picked up Shaquile. Then we went to Bro Chuck's house where we picked up the rest of the crew including Sam, Christian, Dakota, and Wesley. (I know these don't mean anything to you, my reader, but I'm just really proud of myself for remember all of those names still because I only knew 1 of them before Saturday!) I took 3 of the guys in my car and Bro Chuck took the rest in his truck and we drove out to Starkville where Bro. Terry had set up his RV the night before only about a mile from the stadium. He'd also cooked up a ton of really good BBQ and hot wings. Bro. Chuck cooked up some Jambalaya (it was really good and I'm going to have to make some eventually as I had him show me how) and I cooked up a bunch of burgers on the grill. We spent the afternoon watching some other football games on the TV he had setup under the RV awning as well as playing a game of football of our own. It really was a great time. Then we went over to the stadium before the game to try to get some tickets. It ended up being totally packed out and we were afraid for a while we weren't going to get in. So we huddled together as a group and prayed real quick that the Lord would get us in, and sure enough right after the kickoff a guy in a ground-keeper shirt came over and asked if we were looking for tickets. He didn't have any, but for $10 apiece (the exact price we were hoping for) he'd get us in in groups of 4. So he took us all in by just going around the ticket checker and I guess he just pocketed $120 on the night! So we went all the way up to the top level and stood at the balcony and watched the game. I'm so glad it worked out because for most of the kids it was their very first time to a college football game! The only downside was that the score was a measley 3 to 2 with Auburn barely beating MSU. Then we walked back to the RV and ate dinner while we waited for the crowds and traffic jams to clear a bit and then I took another group back home since they lived right outside the gate. I didn't get back in until right around midnight! So it was a really long day, but I really enjoyed spending the time out there fellowshipping. They really are a great group of people.

Sunday went really too. We had a guest speaker who lives out in Montgomery but I guess was a member here for 5 years or so and was even married in the church here. He's been called to preach but the Lord has not yet led him there yet, I guess, as he isn't yet pastoring a church or anything. But he spoke both Sunday morning and evening as pastor is on vacation; and he had some really good messages. Then it was Bro. Jonny's birthday, so his wife set up a cake and refreshments in the fellowship hall and she and the youth group turned off the lights and waited while Bro. Chuck and I chatted with him and then brought him back there. He was really surprised and I'm sure really enjoyed it!

Monday was a busy day as Machen and I double turned formation rides together prepping for the check ride today. Then, as luck would have it, the yearly major changes to our publications came out over the weekend right before my checkride! So I spent an hour and half last night just putting everything together and making all the required changes in the pubs for that. What a pain! But I guess it paid off since I didn't get any downgrades or anything on them today (if they even checked them...). Oh well, it was all worth it...I'm done!

Mom and Dad made it into LAX this afternoon. I actually called them right as they were trying to pick up their luggage. So I'm praying (and sure) they're having a really special time out there with Kenny right now.

Tomorrow we report at 8, and then I'm doing recorder from noon to 4 in the RSU. (oh, goody). Otherwise, nothing else is really on the schedule. We do each have to do 1 T-38 sim which is evidently used to compare how well people perform in the sim to how well they perform in the actual jet IF they actually get T-38s. Which basically means this sim means absolutely nothing to me! Maybe I'll see how many times I can dive the plane into the ground at above the speed of sound. Yeah, that sounds amusing! I'll probably have to do a fly-by of the tower topgun style as well! He's on my six, I can't shake him, I can't shake him! Heh, silly fighter dudes...

Friday, September 12, 2008


Had a solid ride this morning with Machen, which is really good because right now we're scheduled to double turn together on Monday and then check together Tuesday. I really hope the weather holds up so that all happens as planned and I can be done with the T-6! Don't get me wrong, I've had a great time so far, but I'm ready to move on with training.

I also got in another workout today. That's number 4 of the week so far, though it's looking like I won't be getting another in tomorrow. If I can keep this up I'll be pretty happy, it's just a matter of the schedule not going crazy on us any time soon.

Tonight the majority of our class met at a mexican restaurant downtown and all had dinner together and then I went with a group to go watch a movie. It was really really stupid, I wish I had those 2 hours back...but at least I got to spend some time out chilling with some people. It was also nice, Rob and I spent about an hour talking after getting back here and just catching up on everything. It's silly that we live next door and don't keep up all the time, but life really is just that crazy here.

Tomorrow's the big Auburn vs MS State game, and I got a call from Bro Chuck Sanders just as we got to the movie earlier. Turns out he's come down with some really bad infection of some sort to the point where he was in the emergency room for a while. So it looks like there's no way he's going to make it tomorrow, and he was the one organizing a lot of this! So I'm going to be doing the shopping and all tomorrow, and then there's 3 guys I'm supposed to pick up and I don't know where a single one of them lives, and then I'm going to Bro. Chuck's house to pick up Samuel, and I don't know where that is either! Then we'll be heading out to the church tailgate in Tuscaloosa somewhere in the vicinity of the stadium. Wow...that's going to be pretty crazy, but I'm not stressing about it at all. The game's not until 1800, and I'll be getting to the commissary around 0900, so we should have PLENTY of time no matter what kind of delays may arise to still get there with tons of time to BBQ and everything. It really should be a great time, it sounds like a decent sized group of church members will be out there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Catch up

Ok, wow, it's been a while! I'm going to start with Labor Day weekend 2 weeks ago. I did make it out to Montgomery and I did take my motorcycle out there. It was a great ride! I did get rained on after the first 30 minutes or so, so I pulled over, took 10 minutes to get my gear on and back on the road, and sure enough, it stopped raining and got really hot. So, I had to pull over again and take everything back off. This time, I rigged up my I-pod to the tank cover and put one of the buds in an ear so I could listen to some tunes on the road, it actually worked quite well! I had a great weekend out there with a couple of movies, a lot of chatting, and I even helped Luke beat this tough boss on the Justice League Xbox game he's been playing. I came back later on Sunday to beat the heat and had a pretty uneventful ride back. The next day I did my shopping, some studying, and pretty much just chilled before starting back into everything the next day. That whole last week was just awful as far as weather. We still flew every day, but I had 2 incomplete sorties due to the weather.

This past weekend was pretty tame; I just stayed around here. But, on Friday all the computer upgrades I ordered all came in! So after hitting the gym I started to put everything together. The memory was really simple, but the video card created a real problem. I ended up taking the entire computer apart which wasn't easy because it a small flat 'space saver' and not a nice roomy tower. Then I hooked up a whole other power supply to everything to see if that would fix the problem. It didn't. Turns out after hours of messing with it that the fix was a lot easier than I first thought. Also turned out that the computer wasn't doing what it said it was doing per the setting I was giving it, hence all the problems, but in the end I got it all figured out!

Of course, at that point after all that hard work I just HAD to test it out. Sure enough, it made everything a LOT faster and smoother. Finally, after 'testing it out' until 4 in the morning I realized my head probably hurt because I'd been up 24 hours straight by that point, and I should probably make myself go to bed...good idea. So needless to say I slept in just a little bit Saturday before getting some errands done. Sunday was good with some really solid sermons Sunday morning and Night. Pastor said he was glad to see me back. I had to explain I wasn't playing hookie, but that I'd been out of town the last weekend and going to bed super early on the wednesday! :) Oh well, it's just really nice being somewhere that people notice when you're gone!

This week the weather's been a lot better, but still hit or miss. Our schedule's been great though because our reports have been a little after 6 so that it's not too early, but we still get out at a good time. So, I've been able to hit the gym every day this week, and have just taken today off so I can go at it again Friday and earlier on Saturday. Cindy and I are in a competition to see who can lose 10 lbs the fastest, and I'm not keen on losing! Game's on, girl!

Anyways, I'm now down to only 4 flights left, including the formation check. So, time is drawing close to when I'll be T-6 complete! Right now I'm scheduled to check on Tuesday, so we'll see if the weather cooperates for that or not. Here's hoping!

Sadly, I know a lot more has happened, but at this point everything from the last 2 weeks is just running together. Oh yeah, I got on pro cap last week for failing another EPQ, and I also got off of it no problem, so that was just a whole bag of fun there. Umm...what else? Well, I'm sure I'll think of things I can come back and add later, but I just had to get SOMETHING up here after such a long break.

Oh, Rachel Fosdahl called me last night! I got it while I was in church, but I called her back on my way home. We chatted for a good hour or so just catching up on everything. She did get accepted to med school at Texas Tech, which is really exciting! So she's about to finish up her first class (block schedule) and has the big test next Friday. It was just really nice to catch up as we'd talked quite a bit for the first couple of months after my breakup in February but not as much the past couple of months. For those of you who don't know, I've known Rachel and her family for pretty much my entire life (since I was 2) and definately and literally for as long as I can remember. I haven't seen her or her family in years and years, but it's so cool to be able to keep up with an old friend like that. Anyways, it just meant a lot to me and I had to share.

Speaking of keeping up with old friends (though not from quite as far back in my history) Heather caught me on facebook the other day and we IM'd for quite a while as well. It's just so neat that there are people/friends out there who are willing to take the time to not only just chat but also share prayer requests and concerns close to them. So glad your aunt does not have cancer, BTW, praise the Lord for that!

Anyways, I do appreciate all the friends and family I have to pray for me and keep in touch with me. Being out here 'alone' isn't always the easiest thing, and the Lord has really blessed me with some great people in my life who still influence me from even across the distances.

Finally, today is 9/11. Never forget. Praise God for this country and for those who are overseas right now fighting for our protection and freedom! Never forget.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Formation, recorder, brakes

Keith and I had the distinct privilege of having the earliest report times today to fly formation together. It went pretty well and my IP said I'm doing really well as far as formation is concerned. But, my pattern work was just down right ugly. My first break to Low Key was just awful, even downright pathetic. I was so far off on my estimates I ended up just making it look like a standard pattern. Then my next ELP from low key was almost as bad and I was told by the RSU to go around. At this point I was just upset with myself because I knew what I was messing up and I'm to the point where I know myself when it's really not the way it should be. So any second I kept expecting him to take the jet and be like: "Ok, Idiot, you've only done about a million of these in your training so far, but I'm going to show you another one since you still can't get it right." But he didn't, and I tried a third one, and it was better, but still not right. Again, I expected the IP to take the jet at any time for my complete incompetence, but he didn't. This time I was forced to go all the way around the pattern and stew in the front seat feeling like I was back in basic contact again. So this time I got a high key ELP, but then I had to orbit just as I was about 500 feet into it! Thankfully, that next one was decent and landable and felt so much better than the others. Of course, then I got slow on my next pattern because I started focusing on a guy taking forever on the runway and dropped my airspeed out of my cross check. On top of all of that I was making all kinds of stupid mistakes on the radio and sounded like a total moron, I'm sure. Ugh, anyways, the pattern needs a smoother ride tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow, I'm up for my formation solo in the morning! I'm pretty excited, it's supposed to be about the funnest ride in all of UPT according to most IPs! So, goal 1 tomorrow is to not hit the other guy, and then goal 2 is to have fun! I can't believe some of the stuff we get to do here sometimes, just thinking about take a multi-million dollar jet and flying it within 10 feet of another myself. :) Good times!

This afternoon I then sat RSU for 4 hours. I was upgrading a guy and told to just let him do it all since he'll be going solo Recorder next time, but he really wasn't able to keep up and is really early in the program so he was having a real hard time. So it made it more stressful for me because he kept messing some stuff up and I felt I could just do it easier myself without trying to correct him all the time while still somehow letting him do it 'by himself'. Not his fault at all, I remember my first recorder upgrade I was really lost; but it just made it a little more stressful for me today.

Then this evening before it got totally dark I replaced the front brakes on my motorcycle. The design of this bike actually made it pretty easy (comparatively) to do. It was still a learning process, but after a lot of sweat and grease I got it done. Still planning on biking to Montgomery if the weather is looking good...

It was great. When I'd got back earlier I found that Ryan had moved my table and computer and everything from the dining room into our 3rd 'office' room so that it could be hooked up to the internet easily without a cord running through the house. Then he also had it download and install all the windows updates and all so that saved me a couple of hours of work right there! We're both also reinstalling our WOW games and are planning on starting a couple of characters to play together for the next couple of weeks. It's a game that I've picked up and played off and on several times over the past couple of years, and it's always a fun time.

We've got an earliter report tomorrow and I've got to do the formal brief, so I'm off to bed.

No flying again

Once again the weather kept us down all day. Then, I was on the board for 2 flights tomorrow including my formation solo, but now I've just got an early flight and then a Recorder tour...oh goody...

Picked up that computer today, got him to knock off just a tad for taking both the computer and monitor as a package. I've been fighting it now for 3 hours trying to get a USB wireless receiver Ryan's given me to work, but it got so messed up that I'm now reinstalling the whole OS. He had XP Pro with SP3 on it, and I'm installing the same thing but back to SP2 which is supposed to be a little more solid anyway. This way, I'll have a system on there that I installed from the ground up now and I won't have to worry about it in the future. Just turned out to be a bigger pain...So now I'm hoping take 2 of trying to install the wireless receiver will go a lot smoother. We'll see.

We went out to eat at Martie's tonight and I got the chicken fingers. Have enough for leftovers at lunch tomorrow, which is always nice. Hoping to be able to make it to services tomorrow night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I got us in trouble...

Ok, let me say from the start: oops, my bad. So I got in a little early today and Lenny caught me and started asking if I was the last one to sit FIDO on Friday. And I started thinking, Friday, I can't remember what I did yesterday let alone on Friday! But, yeah, I was the last one at Fido on Friday. (Fido is the desk in our flight room that is supposed to be 'manned' all day but is in reality the biggest waste of time because it serves absolutely no real purpose) I also had sat Fido the whole day on Friday while I was running around making 2 different runs for Snacko, and helping organizing the counting of the coins for that competition we'd had. And yes, I did leave while the last jets were in the air...but I thought we had left someone in the room, and I also hadn't really actually been at the desk itself for most of the afternoon. So, yes, I guess I did leave it empty for the half hour or so before the last guys got back. So again, all that being said, it certainly was my fault, but I didn't think it made a difference since absolutely nothing was going on. So, evidently our flight commander got back and saw the desk was empty and chewed out our student flight leader for a while about leaving it empty. So he had a talk with us in front of the IPs this morning laying out the exact rules about the nature of the FIDO desk. (better late than never I guess) So yeah, I started this day off on a great foot!

I was scheduled for 2 flights, but nobody flew because had a big storm all day. Then we had a 3+ hour briefing from IPs who'd flown all different planes in the Air Force to give us an idea of what to expect in each platform and to answer any questions. It was really great to present all of that info and I know we all really appreciated it, but it was over 3 hours straight and literally there wasn't even a bathroom break there! So it seemed to take forever. Anyways, then we terminated for the day and all went home.

Oh, and our class patches arrived today too! So FINALLY we're now all wearing our class patches as we'll do for the rest of UPT. I think they actually turned out really great.

I also heard back from a guy selling his 2.4GHZ Pentium 4 for really cheap and I'm going to look at that tomorrow and probably pick it up from him. I'm still wanting to put together my ultimate gaming machine some day, but this will at least upgrade me from my 5 year old laptop to something a little faster without a lot of $$ right now.

And it's off to bed for this guy. Here's hoping the weather's better tomorrow. I'm supposed to double turn a low level into a formation ride again, we'll see!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend wonder

Ok, so the title of this post may be a little deceiving, this was pretty much just a 'situation normal' type weekend. Friday night I went with Ryan and Ashley to go see Death Race, which was pretty much exactly what I expected. Lots of killing and action wrapped around a very strained plot line, if you could even really call it a plot. Then Saturday I slept in and Fay hit us sometime Friday night so that it's rained straight through the whole weekend. Ryan then went with me downtown to run some errands. We went by Game Ware and they actually had another Ipod like the last one I bought that didn't work! But this one is black, and it works! So I've finally got my hands on an ipod at a decent price. It's a 5th Gen 30Gig and I've got my library of songs on it now with plent of room to spare.

I also picked up brake pads for my bike and plan on replacing the front brakes some time this week. Then I got some shopping done at Walmart before we came back here and finished up at the BX and Commissary. Oh, I also bought Assassin's Creed for the 360 and played that for a few hours last night.

Church was good as always today. Bro. Jonny told me they're having a youth activity at the base bowling alley in September and has asked me to give a devotion for that as well. So I need to come up with a good topic and start developing that soon. I'm excited to get another chance to talk to them and pray the Lord will use me to speak to some hearts. Also, on the 13th Auburn is playing at MS State and Bro. Chuck is doing a 'Christian tailgate' he's invited the church to and asked me to help with. Should be fun! Anyways, I've now got something going on every single weekend of next month, which is awesome!

Also, I'm going to spend this coming 3-day weekend in Montgomery, it will be great to see every one out there again. That's why I'm trying to get those brakes in this week as I'm planning on taking my bike if the weather's good.

Tomorrow I'm double turning with a low-level with Col Boulard in the morning and a formation ride in the afternoon with Dove being solo on my wing. Should be a fun day! Puts me 2 rides closer to being done too! Won't be long now, looks like September 26th is track select, so really only a month to go in the T-6!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Catch up already!

Ok, I have been away from this for a while. It's just been super busy, especially losing a whole weekend to the cross-country. Not that I consider it a 'loss' or anything, it just wasn't a break! I guess I'll start there in my recounting, though. We met Friday to start setting everything up. A big group of other guys was heading to Denver Colorado, but Captain Dove didn't want to head out that far because it would be way too much time spent at just straight and level flight and wouldn't leave much time for practicing approaches and seeing other airfields. So, we decided to head to Talahassee that night in one jump since we were leaving later in the day. So got everything prepped up and headed out with no problems. We shot a couple of approaches at Dothan Regional on the was to Talahassee and then full-stopped there. That night we stayed in a hotel near the air port and got a rental car for the trip in and out from there and in order to find somewhere to eat. We went to a grill first, but they had some really loud live music, and both of us were tired and in no mood for that. So, we left there and drove up and down the street near the hotel and a fondue restaurant caught our attention...

So, yes, two grown men went to a fondue restaurant together, but I must say, it was some great food!! That was my first time having fondue and it was great! Actually, I even said at one point to Dove, "hey, man I don't want to make this awkward or anything, but this is one of those places that would be perfect to a girl out to for a really nice date." :) I got steak and I don't remember which fondue we got for the table. So, what they do is bring everything out to you totally raw, so the waitress came out and handed me a plate of bloody steak meat. I came SO close to saying "hey, I think you need to take this back, I don't think I ordered it still moooing. The chef needs to at least try to cook this!" But, I thought she'd probably heard it a few times in the past... We didn't get any of the dessert and chocolate fondue as the meal itself was PLENTY expensive already and plenty filling as well. Anyways, enough about the fondue.

Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel and then headed back to the FBO at the airfield to plan the day. We'd decided to head for Charleston SC and stop at Gainesville on the way. So we crossed to the east coast of FL to the Kennedy Space Center and shot an approach there and then tracked back to Gainesville for a couple more approaches and a full stop. We got a courtesy car at the FBO there and then got chipotle downtown and debriefed the flight. Once we got back to the FBO I spent about 45 minutes and planned up our leg to Charleston. However, that was not to be. When we stepped to the jet and I tested to Aux-Bat, it wasn't holding its charge. So, long story short Capt Dove called back and they told us we couldn't go out to Charleston because it was too far if the jet died and they would have to send out a repair team. So, our plans changed last minute to head to Birmingham instead for the night. That was a good flight was a pretty long haul of straight and level that got pretty boring so I was happy to see Birmingham for a couple more approaches to a stop. That night we stayed at a really nice hotel so we had to cover the extra bit, but it was a nice place. Then Dove suggested a Thai place he knew within walking distance since we didn't get a car that night since the hotel had shuttle service to and from the airfield. I got a really good curry dish there that reminded me of a rendang dish we used to have in Indonesia all the time that I loved.

Sunday we went down to Mobile Alabama first which was really cool because much of pattern was over the water there. We got pizza delivered to the FBO there and then had to change plans again due to a storm developing between us and Columbus. So we went through Meridian and did some checkride approaches there before coming back to Columbus for some VFR patterns. We were actually flying in real weather for most of that trip including some rain for the last portion. Then we debriefed everything and left from there. It was a great weekend and a real fun time and Captain Dove was a great guy and I enjoyed flying with him. It was just a lot of stuff going on at once!

After that, I only had 2 I-sims and my to-check left to go. So Monay and Tuesday I did the last two sims, and then Wednesday I double-turned with the to-check and a formation ride. Usually they don't double turn you before a checkride, but I was running up on a 14-day break in formation but so it had to be done. The checkride then went really well on Thursday, though I had to change from the primary to GTR. I went out to the MOA first to do the 3 items or so that could be done out there, and then turned circles in the MOA while loading up the GPS approach for GTR. I did the GPS and ILS and then he flew back and did a few patterns of his own at columbus. We did the GK and EP after that, and I thought I did pretty well, but he still gave me one downgrade on GK, and then my only other one was for the ILS because I actually missed the glideslope until I hit the FAF. But I then talked him through my plan of just turning it into a LOC approach until hitting the mins or reintercepting the glideslope so he only gave me a downgrade on that mistake. So the Lord blessed me with a 2E in the end! Friday I sat the RSU all morning for my first solo tour for a crazy shift with a max of 11 aircraft in the pattern at one point (we can only hold up to 12 before we have to land some), and on top of that I was upgrading someone else; and then, the computer was on the fritz the whole time so I had to reboot the things literally a dozen times while we were out there! That night was a cottage chat at the church I made it to, and it was a great time with some volleyball games after the food and devotion. That Saturday I was so tired after 2 weeks straight of flying with no break that I pretty much just took the whole day off. Sunday of course was church with a nap in between.

If you've followed along so far, this brings us to this past week. Monday I had a formation ride that went really well. I got an excellent overall and really just enjoyed the ride. Tuesday Josh Dove and I were given the privilege of flying with the squadron DO and ADO (essentially our 2nd in command with the ADO being 'assistant to' the second command of sorts). So, Josh led us out to the area, and we did all of the area work up to extended trail (ET) stuff. Then, they called the move into ET and we started into it. Well then I heard the major in my back seat asking what in the world I was doing several times, and then took the aircraft. Then he said again that he had the aircraft. And I answered him...again! That's when we started to realize he was having some transmitting and receiving issues in the back. So we ended up knocking off the manuevering, and since we didn't have solid communication in our jet (we were in the process of making up some crazy spur-of-the moment sign language of our own at the time) we decided to bring the formation back in. So since I didn't lead anything the sortie was graded as an incomplete. Basically, it was a free sortie of practicing wing stuff for me! Wednesday I had nothing on the board, and I actually was able to get out of there on time to make it to church! It was great because Jonny had asked me again on Sunday if I could give a testimony to the teens. So the Lord worked it out great and I had had time to put together a decent outline and gave my testimony and about a 30 minute sharing-lesson of sorts. I was really honored to be able to do that, and just pray that the Lord will use it to work in their lives in some way.

Yesterday I had the makeup flight for the incomplete on Tuesday and that went really well too. I also had Taco CAP for the GK downgrade on my checkride. So I made Mom's recipe for chicken soft tacos in the crockpot. I didn't know how much I was going to need, so I got 12 pounds of chicken. Only when I started to fill the three crockpots on Wednesday night I realize just how much chicken that was! So needless to say, there was plenty of extra! I just set it all to cook when I went to bed, and then got up in the morning and shredded it all and combined it into one crockpot to take in and put on 'warm'. There was a ton left so I put a bunch in the freezer and more in the fridge. Ryan and I will be eating that stuff for a while! But it was a huge hit, I guess my culinary 'skills' impressed a few people 'cause I got a lot of compliments.

Oh, another thing that's happened: I am our flight's snacko guy now too since the senior class gets lumped with that spectacular duty. I'm almost to the point where I'll punch the next guy who complains because his favorite (and very specific) type of soda isn't stocked in the fridge! Haha, but no, seriously, so far all I've received is moaning no matter what we do to keep it stocked. It's just a no-win job. We basically spend all the money to restock, and then wait for people to buy so that there's more money, and then restock again. What that means is that we're not able to get any reserves and stuff runs out way too quick. I think some people aren't paying for everything they're taking either. Anyways, it's a huge pain.

Today I didn't have a flight again, so I worked on some snacko stuff, helped with sorting pennies for a competition that's been ongoing, sat FIDO for a few hours, and then called it a day around 1300 and played a few hours of final fantasy before getting some work done around the house. Currently I have no real plans for tomorrow, but I'm going to see if I can buy brake pads for my bike locally and replace them tomorrow.

And I think that may qualify as my longest post to-date. I know it's been too long since my last update...I even had mom and dad worried enough that they called just to make sure I was still ok down here. :) So again, I've got to make myself keep up on this more on a daily's not like I'm really busy or anything. Ha!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Out and back actually happened!

Ok, so I was supposed to have my out and back today with a VFR first leg out to Meridian and then a night ride back here to shoot approaches. However, we had some ridiculous storms and bad weather roll in early in the afternoon. However, everything started clearing up enough that we actually were able to make it out, although our plans totally changed and we were fully 2 hours past our original takeoff times. We didn't use the plans I had originally at all, but were able to use the VR1014 lowlevel route to fly VFR out to Huntsville, AL. Once there we did about 7 overhead patterns. My first 2 or 3 were awful, but the last couple were really nice.

I flew all of this with Capt 'Kegger' who I've flown with once before and I enjoy flying with. We landed a little before 8 and had to take off at 9 so we quickly jumped into the courtesy car and went to Firehouse which is a sub place that makes some great sandwiches. They also have a huge collection of hot sauces and I picked 3 that looked the hottest. I put the hottest one on there, and I really only wanted a dab, but about a whole teaspoon came out. Now, at this point I thought, no big deal; I've have had plenty of 'hot' stuff in my lifetime, this won't kill me, it can't be that bad. Then Kegger put some on his plate and just barely dabbed his sandwhich in it as I took a big bite with all that sauce on it. He asked me how it was and I said, "it's not bad". And really, at that point it wasn't. It had a nice little sweetness to it, and was only just starting to get a little hot. But then it kept going!! Pretty soon my mouth was literally on fire! I seriously thoguht for a while I might need medical help! I was instantly hiccuping uncontrollably, as was Capt Kegger across from me. I was having a hard time even breathing and was feeling the most intense pain I've ever felt in my mouth, it really felt like it was burning! I thought I was going to die, and I may have even welcomed it at that point! So here we were, both grown men in military uniform with tears in our eyes in obvious pain while both hiccuping, laughing, and choking at the same time. Just imagine it!

The only thing that helped at all was continually sucking cold tea down through a stall. Soon I was hurrying across the restaurant for a couple of refills, and Kegger was not far behind! Of course, on the way back I then suddenly had to go really bad for like the last 45 minutes of the flight. Oh well. I wanted to laugh for most of this, but it was just too hot! I can honestly say that's by far the hottest I've ever had in my life! And I'm no foreigner to spicy food!

So then, being the intelligent beings that we are, we THEN read the labels after it was a little late. There were all kinds of labels on there saying that we would not sue them, etc due to any damages from the sauce. Then we read another label for another sauce that only half the level on the scoville spiciness scale as this one, and that bottle said to try only a small drop at a time and even then with caution! And I had a whole teaspoon + in one bite of one that was twice as hot! This thing was a 375,000 on the scoville scale. Please reference the chart below:

You will notice that 375,000 is really not that far below US military grade irritant ammunition! That's weapons grade spiciness!! Also, for most of you who rank jalapenos as being really hot, notice that they don't even reach 4,500 on the scale. So just image something literally 80 times as hot as those! So needless to say, I will never underestimate hot sauces again in the future!

I spent so much time trying to survive there that Capt Kegger had to drive us back so I could try and finish eating on the way. We then got every prepped up and into the jet at around 9 for our night leg. We shot one ILS at Huntsville, and then came back direct to columbus for a GPS and then another ILS that Kegger shot. It was a great trip and beautiful ride back at night with the stars, moon, and city lights and the cool clouds we had out tonight. I loved it, it was a great ride.

Now we'll be leaving tomorrow for our weekend cross country trip. The plans keep changing but it looks like we'll be starting out to Tallahassee tomorrow to spend the first night, and then have 2 flights a day after that. So I'll be getting in around 12 tomorrow to get that all planned. I'm so tired tonight I've just got to get to bed but I'll be packing and everything in the morning and then heading out for the weekend. Should be a blast!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Surprise! You're briefing NOW!!

Ok, so, last night when I got the schedule off ATIS, I was not even on there. So it was going to be a nice relaxing (and short!) day. We didn't have to report until 1430 either, so I slept in really late until about 1045-ish (I did NOT want to get out of bed today). Then, while I was in the bathroom getting ready I heard my phone 'message' alarm go off twice in about 4 minutes. Then a minute later Ryan banged on my door and said "Hey, you're flying a low level and your briefing starts now!"

To which I responded, "Are you serious?!?"
"Yeah I'm serious, they just called me!"

So I then quickly finished shaving and brushing my teeth, and then listened to the 2 messages while I got dressed and then called back one of them to let them know I was on my way. As I was finishing tying my boots Zach got to the house and announced that he was here to pick me up and provide door-to-door delivery in his car to save me the walk from the parking lot! So I had enough time to grab us each a soda and get a granola bar for myself as we ran out the door (that was only thing I ate all day until 1815 when I got home and had 15 mintues to eat before heading out for church). I got to the flight room and Bryan was finishing up the Form-70 for my flight and I had under 5 minutes to get a data card ready as well as review the entire hour-long low level route! Then I briefed it up with my Cpt Dixon and we went out the door! Thankfully this was my first of 2 so he demo-ed the first 3 legs of the route for me, and then I flew the rest. This was a great ride, too! We spent the whole thing only 1000' off the ground and navigated solely based on timing and our maps. The terrain we were flying over was really cool, and it was awesome seeing everything going by at 210 knots only 1000' up! It was an awesome ride, and praise the Lord it actually went pretty well!

But wait, my fun morning was not over yet! We got back and debriefed just in time for me to make it to formal brief (and the crowd goes wild...yay...), and guess who got stood up for the EP today after literally only 5 minutes between events? Yup, yours truly! Thankfully, this one actually went really well, and I handled the emergency correctly and was complimented at the completion of the event. It was no where near perfect, of course, but it went really well. Then I spent most of the rest of the afternoon talking with the guy who I'll be flying my cross country with this weekend. We came up with a few ideas and I called and checked them out this afternoon. So we're meeting tomorrow again to try to finalize the plans as much as possible. We were planning on Chicago initially, but then when I called they said they'd have no ramp room left, so we had to completely revamp our plans. We'll see where we actually end up going, the plans tend to constantly change up to the last minute. Either way it should be a fun weekend of flying! I'll get 5 Navigation sorties out of the way in just 3 days and will see some interesting areas of the country in the process.

Tonight I was able to make it church for the first time in a while (on a Wednesday, that is), which was a real blessing. Though, I did have to go in my flight suit. Can't say I minded too much, though, you know what they say: girls like a man in uniform! ;) Then this evening Ryan and I hit the gym for well over an hour of weights and elliptical work.

I also made my first omelettes tonight! I always have a ton of eggs as I can only find them in 12-packs and don't use them that much, so I figured that would be a great way to eat them. I made one for both Ryan and myself, and they turned out pretty well. I put pepperjack cheese and bannana peppers in mine, and then put hot salsa on top and it was actually pretty good for a first attempt!

Tomorrow I fly a day-night out and back. Bryan is heading down to Meridian at about the same time, so I think I'll meet up down there with him so the 4 of us can go grab dinner together before our night sortie back to Columbus. This should be a pretty fun ride too. It's VFR on the way there, and then IFR (of course) at night on the way back to shoot at least 3 approaches at Columbus.

The next day is then the beginning of our cross country through late afternoon Sunday. To top it all off I should be finishing my last 3 instrument events and then getting my instrument check by about midweek of next week. So things are going to get BUSY! I'm pretty confident about my instrument check. The Lord's really blessed me with some good instructors for the block and I've learned a lot of great techniques and have had a pretty good handle on things for a while now. Pretty much I just need to make sure I don't make that one dumb mistake that would cause an unsat. Besides that, I just need to bone up on my instrument 'general knowledge' and, Lord willing, I should do just fine. After that, I'll be able to focus on just finishing up the formation block, which I'm currently the farthest along in out of the whole flight. I'd love it if they got me through pretty quickly and I could possibly start looking at some T-1 stuff to give me a leg up on phase III. Oh well, we'll see how that works out.