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.