Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Americans

This was a speech by Canadian journalist Gordon Sinclairin 1973, but somehow fits today. Turn up your speakers and give 5 minutes of your life....it's worth it.


How many cores does one need?

I haven't upgraded my main computer in about 18 months. It's running a Dual Core Celeron E6600 which is two 2.5 GHz CPUs in one wafer. The computer runs fine. My main computer is the only multi-core desktop computer in the house. Kelli and I each have dual core laptops. My security computer needs an upgrade. The security camera software uses 100% of the CPU 100% of the time. This isn't a major deal as all that computer does is monitor and record video. When I try to log into that computer remotely it is very slow. I am considering a dual core upgrade for it as well. My predicament is to upgrade just that computer to a new CPU/Motherboard alone or upgrade my main computer and move it's motherboard down to the security computer. There are now 4 core CPUs out! I can't imagine most people needing that much power. The multiple cores can only be used if the Operating System and the software being used is designed for them. Most software is not. This means that the Operating System decides which core does what. For example if you had a quad core computer and were running four applications on Windows XP or Vista then each application would be given its own core. Very efficient. If you were playing Microsoft Flight Simulator X on a 4 core system ( Flight Simulator is a very demanding application) it would only use one core. Some new games and Applications are coded to sspread the load over multiple cores thus increasing performance and lowering the load.

There is a $79 Dual Core Pentium CPU and motherboard combo at Fry's that I could throw into the security computer. This is the cheaper route but then I would have to upgrade my main computer later and would spend more money. I could spend $180 for a motherboard combo that would be faster than my main computer and then move it down to the security computer. The $79 Frys special is slower than my main computer. Choices...

I'm writing this from the Cleveland airport. I am supposed to be in Dallas right now. The plane I flew in had a broken APU. The APU provides power, air conditioning and is used to start the engines. Once the engines are started they provide power and air conditioning. Without an APU the plane needs external power and an air cart to provides high pressure air to start the engines (planes don't have an electric starter like a car, high pressure air is used to get the fan blades rotating fast enough to start). Anyways it has been broken since the 23rd. Yesterday was the last day it could be flown broken. For some reason they sent a broken plane to an outstation (Cleveland is not a base for crews or mechanics) and they didn't start working on it until 5:14AM. We were supposed to leave at 7AM. Right now it's 10AM. I will be lucky to leave by 11AM. I have been sitting here since 6:40AM. Fun. NOT!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Preggo Geeky Chic in Boots?

Oh my friend Kerry is absolutely unique. She has a blog over at http://kerrymwhite.com/ . She has a much more robust site and  has very interesting blogs. She often makes me smile and laugh. A recent post of hers involves her tickets to a Seether concert and the boots she is going to wear. I clicked the link to the boots. WOW! They are a pair of serious ass kicking boots. Seeing them on a short legged preggo blonde woman would be quite the site to see.

New Swag

Got a box full of McCain stuff...new yard sign, button, sticker for my car....and the piece de resistance.....my NoBama shirt!

Back of the shirt

Front pocket area


Monday, July 21, 2008


The Riu chain of hotels is almost all the all inclusive type. We were new to this. We paid $360 for two nights so right at $90 per person per day. Sounds high but it included all food, alcohol (which I drank quite a bit) and more. The room had a stocked liquor dispenser with tequila, whiskey, gin and rum. There were 3 bottles each of pepsi, diet pepsi and 7up along with 4 gallon size water bottles. The food was very good for the most part. We ate at the steak restaurant one night. The steak was just barely decent....far from being the special meal it was advertised to be. In fact the meals at the buffets were the best food to be had. We ate plenty and I drank enough for Kelli and I times two. Good time indeed.

Below are a few photos from the trip. First up is Kelli and I after dinner on the second night. The dinner was ok but had a great view of the ocean and sunset. Next up is one of my plates during a lunch. I eat everything. The following photo is Kelli's plate. Always spartan...potatoes and pizza were her staples. We walked along the beach quite a bit, we are a few yards down the beach when we stopped for our requisite "arm outstretched" photo that we take everywhere. Finally is a eatery in the city that had someone who failed hooked on english.

afterdinner.jpg myfood.jpg  kellis-food.jpg  infront-of-the-resort.jpg   img_0660.JPG

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Made it back

Three days two night is an almost perfect length of vacation for us.

The flight down was fine. We didn't get first class but did score an exit row to ourselves.  I did a ton of research on what to do and what not to do. One of the top things mentioned by the transportation company (Transcabo, good company delivering exactly what they promised!) was to exit baggage claim and go directly outside to the pickup area and talk to no one. Well I exited the doors and was greeted by a guy asking if I was looking for Transcabo. I agreed and he pointed me over to a guy behind a desk who was not wearing a Transcabo shirt. He was a timeshare dealer! After only a few minutes we were walking away confused. Thankfully a Transcabo representative saw our paper and helped us out.

The drive to the resort was about 25 minutes. There's no way I would ever rent a car down there....crazy. The day before we came to cab drivers union finally came to terms with the government and stopped blocking transportation companies (Like Transcabo) from taking customers to and from the airport. Prior to this the cab drivers were blocking entry ways to resorts. When we pulled up there was still a bit of craziness as word travels slow. There were lots of cabs, men standing around and TV news cameras. The resort we stayed at is by far the largest in Cabo San Lucas. We made it in fine and were dropped off.

Riu Sante Fe is a first rate resort. Check-in was quick and easy. I booked the top room just outside of the suite. This meant a long walk but it was worth it. The view from our room was awesome. We were also closest to the beach and the nicer pools. The first two photos are our view of the ocean from our balcony. The bottom photo is the other direction looking at the courtyard of the hotel.




The room is very nicely appointed. The first day we simply walked along the beach, ate and drank. I drank a lot over the weekend. This was our first all inclusive and I took advantage of it. To keep from getting hang overs or too drunk I used a tip handed to me by a flight attendant. Pepto Bismol! I took a shot or two before I started drinking and never had a problem. I had more alcohol than I have had since college. No hangovers and I was never really drunk. Good times. That's it for now. More tomorrow. Obviously we got back ok.

Friday, July 18, 2008

In Los Cabos

We are in Cabo San Lucas. The flight down was fine. Flying standby is a game. Getting to the top of the list is important if you want first class. Yesterday 15 out of 16 first class seats were sold to paying customers. This morning at 5AM I noticed only 14 were. I quickly got up, grabbed out passports and drove to the airport. When traveling international on standby you have to scan you passport to check in. I checked in at a kiosk and went back home. We were 4 and 5 on the list. 1-3 were a group traveling together. Sure enough when we got to the gate they didn't want to be split. Problem was there was a group of 4 paying passengers looking for an upgrade. I thought they wouldn't split but they did. BOOO! The parents and two kids split up, giving the damn kids first class seats! All was not lost, we scored exit row seats. So far so good. Liqour dispenser and beer in the room. I am using the internet in the bar, $3 for 15 minutes. Gotta type quick. More later...maybe.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mazda5...Multi-Activity Vehicle

I still contest my car is a Multi-Activity Vehicle. The previous Mazda vehicle with sliding doors was the Mazda MPV. MPV stands for Multi-Purpose Vehicle. With the Mazda 5 (Mazda Premacy over in Japan) they changed it to Multi-Activity Vehicle as family are more active and the vehicle is built with families in mind. Anyways...found a funny Mazda 5 ad from 2006. My 5 is a little different with new tail lights and headlights..interior is very similar.


Beads to Baja

So we were supposed to go to New Orleans with friends tomorrow. We went by ourselves a few weeks ago and had a great time. Going again by ourselves would be okay...but not as fun as with friends. Since the friends we were supposed to go with backed out (couldn't get the buddy passes from their source...I can't give them till October 2009) we had to think of somewhere else to go. I had already arranged to have the weekend off from work (not an easy thing to do in the travel industry) and Kelli had arranged for the pet sitter. Staying in town wasn't at the top of our list.

I started looking around or all kinds of last minute vacations. I really wanted to go to the Bahamas. The flight there is on my plane and Kelli has never been on it before. Most of the time the non-stop flight is full...not this week. I listed us on the flight and then began looking for resorts. There are not an abundance of resorts in Nassau. I was close to pulling the trigger on Breezes Super Club Nassau...but then found negative reviews on every site I looked at. The negative reivews and the high price ($160 per person per night) ruled it out. Nassau was a bust. I then looked at Aruba. Flights were slightly more full.....so I passed. I then found Cozumel. The flight to and from (I said 'the' flight...only one in and out per day) was wide open! I looked at El Cozumeleno Beach Resort. Eric and Angela has stayed there and had a good time. The price was good and everything looked fine. I then thought about the whole one flight deal. If for any reason it cancelled we could be stuck for a while. Cancun had several more flights. I found a resort I liked and was happy. I went to bed. This morning I looked on the other side of Mexico. I found a very nice resort from the RIU chain. Kelli and I are planning on visiting a RIU resort in August as we saw an advertisement in the American Way magazine (American Airlines onboard magazine...a very good read!) for just $99 total a night. The resort has it's grand opening in October. Anyways we are off to the RIU Sante Fe Resort in Cabo San Lucas Friday thru Sunday. Three days and two nights in Mexico. The price is decent at $150 per night. It's an all inclusive. The only thing that isn't great is internet access. The El Cozumeleno Beach Resort had free access. The RIU Sante Fe charges for access. I should survive for 3 days. All 3 flights per day are "green" meaning over 30 available seats per flight. We are leaving on the first flight of the day Friday and coming back on the last flight on Sunday. The flight cost will be the highest we will have spent so far at $130 per person round trip. That will get us first class seats though. Coach is $15 less. The cost is higher due to a load of taxes and fees. Most tickets we fly around on are under $25 round trip.

Because I am a worry wort and this is our first international trip (Canada doesn't count), I bought travel insurance. Not trip cancellation insurance. Travel insurance. The insurance will cover any medical bills and pay to transport us out of the country to a hospital in Dallas if anything goes bad. Will we need it? Probably not. Better safe than sorry. I looked at Med Jet Assist (http://www.medjetassist.com). They will fly a private jet with a doctor/nurse on board to where ever you are and haul your ass out. The cost is high for one trip, if we continue flying international the annual plan for a family isn't bad ($350). I have read articles in various magazines and travel websites on how much international medical bills can be and how they insist on being paid upfront...cash. Travel insurance companies can take all the headache and worry out for under $10 a day.

Total cost for the trip (hotel, transportation and travel insurance) excluding air fare is just over $500. Peggy (my mother in law) spiffed Kelli and extra $500 (she paid Kelli back for using our credit card for various stuff while in NY a few weeks ago). This will be our "big vacation" of 2008.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gonna have to downgrade

So I have had the Caddy of airplanes (for American Eagle way) since I started. Won't last for long. Due to downsizing of the industry I will very likely be forced out of my plane by a more senior pilot. I am currently #75 on my plane in Dallas. They are reducing staffing by 43....I am 12 from 20 from the bottom...not looking good. What is looking good is the fact that I have a union! Since I will be pushed out I have the possibility of pushing out someone more junior than me. Who will then push someone else out until there in no one left to push...then those guys are on the street. I am working up a game plan. I think I might go for the ATR...a huge turboprop aircraft. I would likely be able to hold a steady schedule...but the pay for the 2nd year (starting in October for me) is much lower than the jet. I am going for quality of life versus high pay. I was really down about the whole thing when I found out. I really enjoy flying the CRJ700....but at least I will still have a job...well I should still have a job....I might be forced out on the street as well.

We were supposed to go to New Orleans this weekend with Lacy and her brother Greg. They were going to use American Airlines buddy passes from Lacys Husbands sister. That deal fell through. Booooo! I was then thinking of going to the Bahamas....but I can't find a really nice affordable resort. So right now we are penciling in Cozumel, Mexico. I have Wednesday thru Sunday off. The resort I am looking at is the same one Eric and Angela visited recently. They had a good time. All depends on flight loads (only one flight in and out per day on American) and weather...(major storms near by).

If we don't go out of the country we will likely stay local and maybe take a day trip to Shreveport or.....somewhere.

I'm really hoping I can stay in my current plane. It's the only one in the American Eagle fleet with fresh coffee....all other planes have coffee delivered in a big thermos that was made hours ago. I really like fresh coffee. It's also the only plane that can fly at 41000 feet. There is a certain cool factor and safety factor up there. Cool because...it's high. Safety because we can out climb the weather.

Who knows.

I was in Little Rock Saturday night, home Sunday night, Des Moine, Iowa last night and now Kelli is going to Los Angeles tonight. Oh the traveling family!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Japanese Horns

I installed a new horn in my car today. The original horn was way too wimpy. I have noticed that most Japanese cars have wimpy sounding horns. My Toyota Matrix was so bad I replaced the horn with 2 horns. I installed Hella Supertones in the Matrix. They made a huge difference. The Mazda 5's horn is located deep under the driver side bumper area.......not easy to get to. I researched horns for hours and settled on a model with an odd name...but powerful sound. I installed he Wolo Dual Bad Boy dual tone air horn. Yep air horn.


A sample of the horn can be found be clicking here.

I am done modifying my car for July. I might be done for good. Hmm that's a lie. I would like to find vinyl covers for my tail lights to darken them up. Ala Prince maybe I'm just like my mother....she's never satisfied.



Tuesday, July 8, 2008


That little strip of photos to the right are from my Flickr account. I'm not sure how many click on them. I uploaded a few that I am going to comment on here....so here they are. First up is Haley wearing the shirt I bought her. Whenever I hear a baby crying for some odd reason I say "There's no crying in baseball." I don't know why. I found a shirt online that had the saying on it and sent it to Haley. She is my favorite niece until she turns two or Gianna (my other niece) grows out of the terrible twos.  haley-no-crying-in-baseball.jpg  I brought my easy button with me on every flight when I was a flight instructor. I haven't brought it along at my new gig as I fly with a different captain often and am not sure how they feel about it. I have the same crew all month and felt it was okay to bring it into the cockpit. I have no idea where to stick it though. I might place it in the center pedestal during boarding/deboarding for passengers to chuckle at.easy-button.jpg  The last photo needs no explaining.....taken in the employee parking lot.aa-mgmt.jpg


Our XBOX 360 is back. Well I won't say OUR XBOX 360...but a 360 is back. I am fairly certain they simply took the shell off the old one and put it around a new one. I cracked the power button on the old one and the power button is brand new. Bleh. It's back...and it works.

I can't see us switching cell phone providers anytime soon. With T-Mobile I get all the hotspots free. DFW is a TMobile Hotspot airport. This month on my schedule I sit around the airport for 2 1/2 hours at a time some days between flights. Surfing the net is a good way to make time go by a little faster. I have found a new and comfortable place to do this....The Samsung Mobile Office down by gate B28. In this Samsung mobile office there are very few passengers and almost no American Eagle employees. The reason? American Eagle operates from B4-B27 and then B30-B39. I am in no mans land next to United Airlines.


Kinda tired this morning. I landed in Cleveland, Ohio at 9:40PM. We got to the hotel at 10:15PM. By 10:20PM I was in the hotel room. I talked to Kelli for a bit, took a shower, caught up on the internet and then hit the bed. I fell asleep just after 11:30PM. I woke up around 2:30AM and fell back asleep after 3AM.  At 5:30AM my alarm and wake up call woke me up. All told about 5 hours of good sleep. I then flew to DFW and made a pretty good landing. I sit here for 2 hours and 4o minutes before being strapped back into a metal tube to Amarillo, TX and back finishing my day at 2:30PM. Reduced rest overnights suck. There is 9 hours between landing in Cleveland and taking off again. The FAA and the airline see those 9 hours as rest...even though I am sitting in a hotel van, checking in and settling in and out. Legal yes. Safe??? Gotta love coffee.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New York

We are in NY for a couple of days. The flight here was interesting. While still on the ground I used the lav. Upon washing my hands the sink spit more air than water out at me. I thought maybe they had not filled the tanks yet. Turns out they didn't till them at all. A faulty gauge showed they were full...no one bothered to check. The flight attendants were all in a bad mood. Fun. The landing in La Guardia (I had never been there before) was very firm. I knew it would be. The runway is relatively short with little room for error. The 757 touched down firmly and they hit the brakes hard. I would have a problem flying out of there given I like to smoothen out my landings....which takes up space.

Today my brother in law graduated from the NYPD Police Academy. The ceremony was held at Madison Square Garden. This was my first time there as well. I wasn't so impressed....kinda small. The ceremony was nice and a bit moving. There were several new policemen who came from the military.

Kelli and I were here in April. My niece Gianna is one of two nieces I have. The other is Haley. Gianna is two years old and it shows. Quite the little terror. Kelli and I swear off kids when we visit. Our other niece is Haley. She is just one years old but currently our favorite. We will see how she is when she is two. Good times.

My brother in law is planning on moving from his $2400 a month rent condo to a $2000 a month rent house. Our mortgage is a little more than half the rent of the house he is looking at. Nutty I tell ya. I am still working on getting him and his wife along with my sister in law and her wife to Texas. My sister in law and her wife live in Sacramento in a nice...but expensive house. The plan for them is too build up equity in the current house so when the next California real estate boom happens they can cash out and pay cash for a house in Texas. It will work. My brother in law will be here for at least one more year while his wife finishes nursing school (coincidentally my sister in law is also in nursing school).

I'm only here thru Friday, Kelli heads back Sunday. Not sure what we are doing tomorrow.

Below is Kelli, Jenny (sister in law), Kevin (brother in law) and of course me, across from Madison Square Garden after his graduation.