Sunday, April 30, 2006

It's a helluva start


A couple of reasons for that out-burst of joy...I have completed probably one of the toughest course that I have ever taken (after algebra and physics 12), and racing season has started!

Friday, after the course was done and our brains had let out a sigh of relief, we as a class went out for beer and food. Needles to say, I was a little hung over Saturday morning.

And of course, Saturday morning, what was I doing? I was at the race track expecting to be playing pit crew for my buddy Marc's race car. As excited as I was to be back at the track, the nagging lousy feeling that the coffee was attempting to relieve made me a little glad to find out that Marc had been up all night trying to get the car race ready, and hadn't been successful yet. So, off to timing and scoring for the day to make sure that the racers received their race results. As it was, the sky opened up on us and we had a lovely spring DOWNPOUR on us. At that point, I was very glad to be indoors.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!!!

I got to the track a bit on the early side, and set up timing. Marc arrived finally, looking a little haggard still from a day and a half of no sleep. But the car was ready!!! We got busy bleeding brakes, polishing the dust off the windows, applying racing stickers, etc. Qualifying time came, and off Marc went. And one lap later, in he came. After all the work done to the car over the winter, the work on the carb had caused the throttle to stick open. So after some hasty repairs, out he went again. Only to come back in again on the next lap. Same problem, but we got it working enough to go out and get in enough of a hot lap to give him a decent time for a decent position.

So, after qualifying, Marc played with the carb and managed to make things a lot better. When race time came, off he went and geez did that car sound sweet! But, on the third lap, there was smoke coming form the back of the car, and so I pulled him in to take a look. The rear seal on the transmission had let go and the bottom of the car was covered in hot oil. Race was over, that fast.

Racing over for us, we cleaned up, and then went over to the timing booth to watch the rest of the races.

All said and done, we had a fantastic weekend, just what I needed after such a busy month.

(There are photos up on Flickr)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mile after mile stone after stone

Proved today how out of shape I have become from sitting in class so much this past year.

I took my car to the shop to get a horrid squealing noise looked at, and decided to walk home from work this afternoon. Normally, it would take between 45-minutes and an hour. But, I was carrying my backpack with a pile of stuff, like 3" binders of homework in it.

Whoa, did my legs hurt. My cardio was fine, but the legs are feeling it. Time to get going to the gym, or just do some more walking/hiking. And maybe cut back on the big dinners. Since I started eating big dinners again, I have felt that I am bloating to the size of a hippo.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A flight of fancy on a windswept field

I was playing around on Google Maps, and discovered that they have updated a large number of Hi-Res satellite photos. So, I went looking for Marseille France, to see where I would be working. If you click the title above, you will see a photo of Marseille Provence Airport, and you will be looking at a bunch of white and some yellow aircraft. The white ones are Firecats, and the yellow ones are Canadair CL-215's. If you are still missing it, look at the big red stain on the ground, this is fire retardant.

The planes that I will be working on aren't in the photo, I don't think that this is a very recent photo. Still it is neat to be looking at the airport in such detail!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I gave in to my decadence

So, I guess I can say that I own a Ferrari now. Had to get a notebook for traveling to work in France, so I figured that I might as well get one with a bit of style. From the carbon-fibre cover to the red racing stripes and the matching Bluetooth mouse, this is one sweet machine!

School is progressing fairly well, had the third exam on Friday, and did a little better than the last two, although I still could have done better (made a couple of dumb mistakes, but that is nerves talking). I don't have any idea when I will be going to France, we don't quite have a plan yet. The guy doing the organizing will be back in a few weeks, and we will be able to draw up a schedule. This is going to be an amzing experience. I will need to learn a bit of french, and have bought a CD french course to start learning with. But, I will wait till after the course to give my brain a bit of a chance to recover.

Ces't le vie!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Is something eluding you sunshine?

Bonnie and I went out today into the sunshine to find ourselves some hidden treasure! I grabbed the camera and the GPS and off we went to explore a part of Sumas Mountain. It is amazing what you will find when a couple of nifty waterfalls. This was heading down to the second and smaller one. There was supposedly a cache there, but we couldn't find it. Still, it was a pretty little site.

In the end, we found the first part of a multi-cache, but not the second (that is where the photo was taken), and another cache near the Fraser a few km west of the Mission Bridge.

It was a good time had by both of us, even if Bonnie wasn't happy about getting a bit muddy.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

We don't need no thought control

Burnt out again.

This past week had to be the toughest school week I have experienced. The only thing that comes close is Algebra 12, and that was something I didn't like.

We had a ton of info crammed into our little brains this past week. I honestly don't know how I passed the exam. I was the first to finish, and with a head swimming in facts, I handed it to the instructor, and left the room. I came back to find that I had past, and I had an overwhelming urgency to leave. I packed my stuff and left. I guess I was supposed to stay to review the exam, but I couldn't stay anymore. Even today, I am still reeling from info overload.

And I still have two weeks to go. I don't know if I am gonna survive.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

You pick the place and I'll choose the time

I have proven today that I am out of shape again.

I picked up my new GPS yesterday (this is replacing the one that was stolen from me), loaded it up with a bunch of new Geocaches, and headed out to find them. I think I logged about 10km of walking in between the different caches. I found 4 of 5, not realizing that the missing one was not there to begin with!

I am very happy with this new GPS as well, the reception from the satellites is very impressive, I was even getting signals in my parking garage! Hopefully I can keep it from wandering off on me like the last one did.

So, in answer to the opening statement, I guess that I will be out walking a lot now that the weather is better and that I have a new toy to play with. I guess that Bonnie will be tagging along as she likes Geocaching too.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Please don't put your wires in my brain

Soooo tired...

School sure wears you out. My poor little brain feels a bit numb, my eyes are burning from staring at the slide show on the screen, and the instructor, and the visual media on the walls.

Class has been a bit odd, jumping around a bit, subject to subject, trying to get an understanding of the components that make up a major system, and it is taking it's toll on us. Many confused faces and hands being thrown up in the air in frustration. I am grasping bits and pieces, but as with any aircraft, there are WAY too many acronym's... ARCDU, CDS, IOM, IOP, RNAV, RCOM to name a few.

It would be a lot easier if we had an aircraft to play with as we did each section, a hands on class to get a better feel of what we are doing. But we have won't have an aircraft until we finish the course, and get down to Seattle and play in the simulator.

I am confident that I will be able to pass the course, but I think that I will have a pile of mushy oatmeal for a brain by the end of it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Laughter echoes in your eyes

Holy cow! Two posts in as many days!

Ya, I know, what is wrong with me? Nothing other than being a bit excited.

I started my course today, and it looks like it is going to be a very good course. Good instructor, cool airplane, free loot, and even some simulator time! I can't wait to try the simulator, learn how to do a run up, or taxi the airplane.

I also found out that I might be spending as much as three months at a time in France! I definitely am gonna need the laptop for this one! Seems that I will be starting with vacation coverage, then maybe some heavy checks in the fall and spring. Maybe I will even find some time to travel while over there, go see Megan and Hans, or Paris or something!

But for now, I just need to pass the exams, and focus on learning as much as I can.

I think I can, I think I can...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Streaming through the starlit skies

Looks like my career might be taking a turn for the good.

I start on an endorsement course tomorrow for the DASH-8 Q400, which in turn will lead me to France to work on a pair of the aircraft that we converted into fire tankers.

This is a good thing.

The experience of running a line job will be amazing. Being in a hanger for seven years, being a parts changer isn't what being an AME is about. You never get good at troubleshooting systems, or get a chance to actually learn the nuances of one particular aircraft. I am rather excited by this.

So, I have started planning what I am going to need over there, tools as well as things like a laptop to be able to keep in communication with friends and family, and to keep this blog a little more full. I also just purchased a new GPS, since my old one was stolen from me. I think I might get an iPod too, so that I can keep my sanity. The joys of spending money!

I had another strange thing happen today, I got on a serious cleaning kick. Maybe it is the nice weather that made me want to throw open the windows and let some fresh air in, (although right now, there is a terrible stink from my stupid neighbour smoking outside...go pollute your own air not mine) or maybe it was the dust bunnies gnawing at my ankles. Who knows, but the place is a bit neater now. I still have a lot of work to do to get the point of being "Bonnie safe" but it is a bit closer.