Archive for May, 2008

The Undiscovered Country

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Whenever I start feeling too optimistic about the future, Warren Ellis is always there to talk me down.


Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

After some really crappy landings the last two times I was up, I decided to spend some quality time in the pattern tonight and polish back up.  I could have picked a better day for it.  It was 10 knots, gusting 15, about 50 degrees off the runway, making for some wind work.  Santa Monica’s up on a little plateau that makes for some funny up and down drafts on either end of the runway.

All things considered, I had a pretty good day.  The first landing or so was  a little bumpier than I would have likes, but after 2 or so, I got back in the saddle.  Much nicer touchdowns, and even pretty stable approaches, despite the bumps in the road.  I was much happier by the end.

Into the Longbox: week of crotchetyness

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #17, Aragones, Evanier, Amancio, Austin.  These guys continue to get the Spirit himself to ring pretty true, but to make me wonder who the supporting cast is.  This issue turns Ellen Dolan into a one-dimensional clingy man-grabber rather than the intelligent, capable woman I prefer to see.  It makes me sad to see sub-I Love Lucy characterization of her after Cooke’s more nuanced treatment.  To add injury to insult, Ellen’s drawn as anatomically impossible, and not in a good way.  Not my favorite issue.

Captain America #38, Brubaker, Epting, Perkins, D’Armata.  Man, you know it’s going to be a long week when the best you can say about Captain America is that it was a superior super-hero book.  I mean it is and everything, but nothing sparkled too much for me.  Though, is it just me or is Dr. Faustus beginning to look like he’s running the show?  I’d swear I saw him talk back to the Red Skull and the Skull took it, which is not SOP.  Maybe not such a dead issue after all…

Grendel: Behold the Devil #7, Matt Wagner.  What in the world happened here?  Did Wagner just defuse the whole tension of his narrative to give me a 12-page recap of the 80’s Grendel series?  Why would anyone do that??? I’m enough of a completist to come back and see Hunter snuff the two red herrings next issue, but I don’t know why anyone else would.  I know Wagner’s usually more interesting than this, but I really don’t see the game here. Bizarre.

Cloudy Day

Monday, May 26th, 2008

I spent some time with my head in the clouds today, flying IFR from Santa Monica (SMO) to French Valley (F70) and back. There was a cloud layer at 5-6 thousand feed above the whole basin, but unlike the last couple days no reported or forecast ice in it. I could have gotten to F70 below it, but it was a good day to pick up some time in actual instrument conditions.

Flying out to French Valley was one reroute after another. I got the impression that the controllers were deciding what to do with me as they went along. That’s not too surprising. LA airspace is busy and French Valley is off the beaten path a bit. Eventually they wound up vectoring me south of Santiago Peak (and the old El Toro Marine Core Air Station). This was good practice in situational awareness – Santiago peak is plenty high, and I couldn’t see a thing. I was very careful to make sure that the assigned altitudes all made sense. After crossing the mountains, I was cleared for the approach, then had that cancelled, then was re-vectored for it, all in IMC. You can’t buy training like that.

On arrival at F70, I decided to break off my straight-in approach to join the traffic via the 45 on the downwind to simplify matters. F70’s pattern always seems to have people in it, and today was no exception, so this kept the flow predictable. Cool beans.

At the airport I had a good lunch at the cafe, filed back to SMO and climbed VFR to get the clearance. SoCal picked me up and it was back to the clouds. This leg was completely as advertised, straight down the filed route to SMO. I canceled as soon as I was back out of the clouds near SMO.

Fun day. Both my landings stunk up the joint, though, so I’m setting aside some time this week to work on them. And avgas is 5.21/gal self-serve.

Review of Empire Falls

Monday, May 26th, 2008

My short review of Richard Russo’s Empire Falls is up on Bell, Book, and Candle.

A little churchin’ up

Monday, May 26th, 2008

For those of you who, like me, could use a little churchin’ up, our pal Andrea has a gospel/soul/blues show on KZSU radio out of Stanford.  For a gospel show, it’s on at an ungodly hour.  You can find out more from her show blog.  Those of you who read this from different time zones may find the show more accessible.  It’s streamable.


Monday, May 19th, 2008

Res ipsa loquitor. (Click through a couple if you don’t immediately see it.)

Gaiman and Steinbeck reviews

Monday, May 12th, 2008

On Bell, Book and Candle, as usual.

You know, I drink tea more than coffee

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Warren Ellis pointed out this thing which takes some position on tea.  I think.  At any rate, a fine thing.

Return of the Gong Show?

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

I’ve waxed romantic about The Gong Show before, and it saddens me somewhat to see that someone thinks that magic can be recaptured.  I suppose anything’s possible – Battlestar Galactica’s a critical success these days.  But I doubt that Gong Show lightining strikes twice.