Saturday, September 27, 2008

For Whenever I have a home theatre

Whenever I get around to having a home theatre....I am going to have airplane seats in place of couches and theater chairs. First class seats of course! I will get them from They aren't cheap....but well worth least for me.

Seems as though the phone I bought has sold out! I can't wait.

My plan to pay for said phone crumbled. I only had one student to teach today. Instead of my $300 daily rate...I got $75. Still more than I would have had if I sat at home all day...but less than I planned for. Thankfully my network cameras sold on eBay for $155. After eBay and Paypal fees (whom I think both charge too damn much) I will make about $145. That and my fee today will pay for the phone. I picked up 12 hours of overtime this month which will pay for my gambling money for Vegas.

Speaking of Vegas, for October I didn't get a "hard line" or set schedule for the month. I got a relief line. This is a line built up with pieces from other lines. The good thing is I have no reserve days. As part of this line they can work you as much as they want up to all but 11 days. Pilots can request certain days off...but they are only request. I asked off for the 3 days we are going to Vegas. This was a tough request as it's the end of the month and that is a hard time for scheduling (due to the next month schedule and carry over from this month). Anyways they gave me my days off PLUS 11 other days off! I got 3 bonus days off. The bad part of this line is I do a LOT of Chicago flying. I like the city....but I HATE THE DAMN AIRPORT! There is always a price to pay I guess.

Kelli is flying to New York next weekend. I would like to have gone, but I work on Sunday afternoon.

I really enjoyed teaching today. Even with one student. I enjoy explaining new topics to people and seeing them understand and then use that knowledge.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I am working my second job at ATP this weekend. Since the downturn of hiring for airlines they haven't needed me. All instructing slots are seniority based. I am very low at ATP so I haven't taught since May I think. Maybe June. Anyways another instructor needs me to fill in for him Saturday. This is good timing because my next phone was released today.

The T-Mobile G1! It's a Google powered phone. The phone can do everything my current phone can except tethering. Tethering is a process where a phone can be used as a modem. With my current Windows powered phone I can plug it in to my laptop and surf the internet on my laptop with all data going through the phone. I use this when I can't find a hotspot or more often...don't want to pay for the hotspot. I wonder if I can just lug my old phone around and use that (with my sim card) to use the net when I am in a bind. I am also assuming I will still get unlimited T-Mobile hotspots. If I don't...then that will be a deal breaker. I use T-Mobile hotspots a lot in airports.

So what does the G1 look like? Well kinda like an Iphone but with a full QWERTY keyboard.

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The phone is $179....with a two year contract. I have been with T-Mobile for over 4 years now. I don't see leaving anytime soon. I will be using the 14 day exchange policy if the phone blows chunks...which based on the reviews I don't think it will. The loss of tethering is a big blow, but the additions of built in GPS and more....I should be ok. With the faster internet and capable browser...I could almost....almost....maybe...see traveling without a laptop while working. Hmmm just got a chill down my back.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day Trip to Chicago

We are back from Chicago. We like Chicago as the transit system is very easy to use....most days...except for this weekend. The "Blue" line (only train service from O'Hare) was being worked on this weekend. This meant our hour trip into the city took 1 1/2 hours. This added an hour of travel time to an already short day. Not a big deal...but annoying.


Traveling standby means being flexible. We flew out on the first flight of the day at 6 AM. Landing on time at 8AM we were on the train by 8:30AM. We didn't arrive at the Washington station to transfer to a bus until a little after 10 AM. The toursit center at the airport told us to stop by the cultural center for really good coupons. We did...the coupons were good...but nothing we needed. The 146 bus to the aquarium was running slow. After 15 minutes it arrived. We got in line at 11 AM. By 1:30PM we were done.


After a bite I used my cell phone to check us in for the flight. When we travel standby...hmmm should be when we travel. We haven't paid for a ticket in years....even before I worked here we were frequent flier mileage whores. Anyways we can't check in until 4 hours prior. The earlier you check in the higher you are on the list. The list is a little more complicated...but for this discussion the earlier the better. For example I woke up at 1:58AM and turned on a computer next to the bed to check us in right at 2AM for our 6AM flight. When we travel it can be a pain to carry a computer around or run inside Kinkos. Thankfully AMR developed a mobile website JUST for employees! I can check flight loads (how full the flights are), times, check in, check the standby by list and more. I love it! Below you can see we are numbers 4 and 5 and have already been assigned seats. The flights today were very empty for the most part. We listed for coach both ways. First class was an option, but we would not have been assigned seats until right before the flight left. Short flight....not that big of a deal (so I thought).


After checking in we made the almost 2 hour trek back to the airport. I assumed because we were on an American Airlines MD80 it would be a real American Airlines MD80. Nope. The aircraft was a former TWA MD80 painted in American Airlines colors. What is the difference? Well the first class cabin is all AA. The coach cabin though is very different. The seat backs on the TWA plane are much lower which kills the already tight legroom. Additionally the headrest don't have the flexible "winged" adjustable headrest. These two features alone make the ride not so great for those who are a little on the tall side. We should have just gone first class.

It would have been nice to have been able to see our friends Jason and Jackie in Chicago but the timing didn't work. Jason worked till 4PM. We could have taken the 7:15PM flight back but that still would have meant heading back around 5PM. Hopefully next time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yellow eyes

The fog lights on my car (Not a Van!) have bothered me since I bought them. The headlights are High Intensity Discharge lights (bright white). The fog lights are halogen (yellowish)....annoying. Kelli's Prius has HID bulbs for her headlights AND her fog lights...thus they match. I thought about buying silverstar bulbs for my fog lights and that would have given them a very similar color to HID...but then I remembered that the fog lights aren't very effective anyway (the HID headlights throw a ton of light on the road). Instead I did what I did the same thing I installed on my Toyota Matrix.....put yellow gels on them. I am mostly happy with the result. The gels are very thick and will protect them from rocks. A rock took out one of the lenses on Kelli's Prius. Nice horizontal crack.

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Ironically I ordered a product to get rid of the yellowing of the headlights on the Prius. I am sure you have seen cars on the road where the headlights are yellowed over during the day time. The yellowing is just from oxidation. The lenses on the Prius are just starting to Yellow. I will take before and after photos when I use the product Sunday morning.

All of the security cameras in the house have been replaced. I have placed the cameras on eBay (if you want them click here) and The new cameras are all night vision capable. I have one in the front window recording the front yard (this one tilts and pans), one in the kitchen capturing the living room and more importantly the back door (this one tilts and pans too), one pointing at the front door and one pointing toward the living room. The last one may be moved. The video and picture quality is 10X better than the older cameras and the video is now 30 frames per second versus the old 10 frames per second. Overall I am happy.

Kelli and I are going to attempt to go somewhere Saturday.

Trader Joes. Great store. They don't have them in Texas. While in Santa Barbara this month I have bought 2 bottles of Charles Shaw (also known as $2 buck chuck) each visit. Two dollar wine sounds scary, but it is very good. I only buy two because that's all I have room for. Remember I live out of a 22 inch bag for 4 days. Everything I pack has a purpose or it stays home. One of my crew members bought 6 bottles! He bought a special bag to carry them from the store. I wonder what the TSA thinks when all of our bags go through with wine bottles inside.

Speaking of the TSA. The government spent some $27 million dollars replacing their uniforms. Gone are the white uniforms and in are the new dark blue shirts, black pants with a dark blue stripe (like a cop) and a metal badge! Now they look more like cops. They think this will get them more respect. Whatever. It won't.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

And so then I said

I need to update that photo at the top of this screen. Well not this screen as the screen I am typing on looks nothing like what you are seeing. No I need to update the photo at the top of the screen that you are seeing. Kinda old. I no longer have that laptop, it's now serving duty in Sacramento. Oh yeah Jami if no mouse is still screwy I have an idea...might be a loose cable. Call and I can easily walk you threw making sure the cable is on well.Anyways Kelli got her new door installed. The backdoor to our house was a nearly full glass door. (Viewable to the right of this screen in my Flickr Photos, click on Photos From My Flickr if you don't see it) Nice...but she could not install a pet door. She instead bought a new door and had a hole cut into it for a pet door. The new door has dual pane glass with built in mini-blinds in the middle. Having them built in means no dusting and they will never get tangled! The window is on the top half and with the bottom half consisting of the dog door. The dog door is "smart" door which can be set up to only allow her dogs through by placing a transmitter on their collars. This was if we leave for the day or even weekend we can let them roam around with no fear of another animal or a really small person coming in. So far the normally retarded Vegas is the ONLY dog to have no problem going in and out. Lilo who is normally the 2nd smartest dog must be forced through then one she is out she just stares inside....having to be repeatedly called to come in. Doogie is doing pretty good with it.Low carb still going well. I am going to clean off and up my grill.Kelli and I haven't gone on a vacation since August 8th. A record! I was looking at my pay statement for my next pay check thinking "that's a lot more money than I normally get." The reason? No travel charges! I pay a small fee ($11-$15 per flight per person normally for coach) for Kelli and I to fly. Although it's a small paycheck is small as well. We were planning on going to Chicago for a day trip Saturday. The Hurricane changed that. The winds and rain will likely delay flights in and out of DFW Saturday and Sunday.Oh....I have no idea what the title of this blog means.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A lot of time to think

Being away from home for 4 days at a time (Estimated at 73 hours of time.....but who's counting...oh yeah...the airline) gives me a lot of time to do....nothing. I need a damn hobby or something to do while I sit in hotel rooms. I thought doing would be fun. But it's not. They lowered the pay rate so it's really not worth it anymore. Learning a new language came to mind...but the audio tapes I <cough>bought<cough> are boring. Rosetta Stone comes to mind. I gotta find something though. Amarillo, TX is a dust bowl of nothing and the hotel is in the middle of it. Santa Barbara, California is very nice...but I get 9 hours between the time I land and the time I depart again....gotta sleep somewhere in there. Right now I am in Little Rock, Arkansas in the downtown 1/2 ghetto part. Nothing to do besides watch drug deals (great view from the 11th floor of the hotel) and thugs run around. Okay this area isn't that bad...but you won't catch me walking outside after dark...and I even have the "right" skin color to be outside. I think I might buy a book or two. It's been years since I have read a book non job/aviation related. I thought my laptop would keep me interested....nah. I can only surf around for so long before I go nutty. Hmmm 6:30PM now....the van picks me up at 5:15....gotta sleep atleast 7 hours (normally 6...but I have to fly though Chicago tomorrow so I need to be EXTRA alert). So that leaves 4 hours of finding something to do. Bleh.

Monday, September 8, 2008

IR and glass

So I found a solution to my camera issue. Run both software versions at the same time and buy a big ass hard drive. The new camera (with its crystal clear picture!) records continuously at the rate of nearly 40GB per day! I still can't get motion base record to work (thats how my other cameras record). I bought a 500GB hard drive (which was crazy cheap!) to use just for the new camera. The old cameras use barely 100 GB for 4 cameras for a MONTH worth of video!

Speaking of the new camera I have it in the front window. The picture and ability to pan is very nice. A problem cropped (pun intended) up. The IR lights blind the camera partially at night due to the window pane. If I set the camera at an extreme angle then the glare goes away but so does the ability to pan. I am not sure a way around this. I can't put the camera outside as it's operating range is from 32F to 113F. It would die in the winter. Anyone have an idea?

I am currently in Amarillo. I flew in last night. I will travel through Dallas this late afternoon and then spend the night in Santa Barbara, California and the following night in Little Rock, Arkansas. Eating low carb on the road for breakfast is a little harder than I thought. After much mind fumbling I found the best solution is a low carb shake and a bar. All other meals are easy. I brought a bunch of nuts, slim jims, tuna and sugar free candy for other times.

Even if we don't have kids I really enjoy my MULTI ACTIVITY VEHICLE (that was for a crazy ass Aggie who insist on calling it the M word!). The versatility is nice. I have more cargo room than most small to midsize SUVs and get much better gas mileage. On a trip to see Eric and Angela last weekend I got 30.2 MPG. The Mazda 5 is EPA rated at 22 city and 27 highway. Getting 30 MPG is very nice. Having my tires set at a higher PSI than stock helps get better than EPA mileage. I also like the styling and overall value. I got everything (leather, HID headlights, sunroof, auto climate control, 17 inch wheels etc). I wanted except navigation and vehicle skid control (helps keep the car straight in wet conditions) for under $20K. The only reason I would get rid of it is if Kelli wants a new car when my lease is up. I drive soooo little right now (I am averaging just over 700 miles a month so far) that I could easily take her well used Prius in 3 years and be fine. Or I could buy my own. Honda is coming out with a Prius fighter that will get similar mileage for WAY less money. The car should be out next spring/summer.

My cell phone is almost 2 years old. When I bought it the phone was cutting edge. Now it's just average. T-Mobile is launching it's 3G network very soon along with a rumored 16 new phones in the next 4 months. One of the phones will be running an operating system by Google. I am in a pickle as I would like the phone...but I might get a 3G touchscreen phone powered by Windows so I can load my logbook (used to keep track of my flight tim) application on it. Right now my phone is powered by Windows Mobile 6...but its not a touchscreen. Because it's not a touchscreen my logbook program isn't compatible and I have to carry another Windows powered PDA (personal digital assistant). I would like to go down to one device...ahh....choices! There are a bunch of unlocked phones that fit my needs on eBay....and some are even 3G! Bleh.

Time to relax in Amarillo till this afternoon. Then off to beautiful Santa Barbara.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Make stuff compatible

So Fry's has a very nice network camera on sale. The camera is the Lexus of cameras. The camera can pan, tilt and has night vision. The pan and tilt part means I can turn the camera 360 degrees via a internet browser and tilt it almost 90 degrees. I bought two because they were on sale for $99. They are made by the same company that makes my current cameras, Airlink. Airlink sells networking equipment only through Fry's and for the most part the products are just rebranded D-Link products. I get the camera home and hook it up. The video and picture quality is far superior to my existing cameras. I get happy. I then try to add the camera to my current Airlink security camera software. That's when the crap happens. The new camera is not compatible with the existing Airlink software!!!! The software that came with the new camera is no where near as useful as the old software. The old software allows for motion based recording and I can exclude certain areas (such as the leaves on trees on the area of one window where the sun rises). The camera was just released by Airlink. I can hope that new software will come out with more functionality. I dunno. I can set it up to simply record 24X7 and dump out old video. This sucks. Very nice camera hampered by limited software.