Thursday, June 30, 2005

Rubber Meets the Road...

Rubber Meets the Road
2 Samuel 22:31-37

Thought for Today: “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12 NLT).

Freezing drizzle had left a coating of ice that made the trees and grass sparkle. Forecasters were telling everyone to stay home, sip a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy the view. Loving a challenge, William felt excitement, not fear, as he backed out of his driveway and heard the voice on the radio say, “Don’t even think about driving to work.”

At the intersection, he slowed enough to be sure no one was coming and ignored the red light. If he stopped, he might not have traction to get going again. Crossing the long bridge, he coasted without touching the accelerator or brake. Feeling safe, he took a deep breath and immediately went into a spin. After wiping out a road sign, he came to a stop, facing the bridge and the oncoming traffic.

Do we believe Christianity is like driving clear roads where the tires have a firm grip on the pavement? No, we can still face challenges. We may slip and slide, have a breakdown, or crash. How, then, is there any difference in the way the rubber meets the road? The answer is, when we become his servant, share our testimony, and reach the end of our journey, we will have life.

Prayer: Lord, let me see clearly the eternal reward I have in serving you. Amen.

Frank Ball / Anchor Church © 2005

I got this as an email from a friend of mine over at The Wittenburg Door chat closet (Al Speegle...drop by his website! It came just as the feces was hitting the ventilator. God's timing is...unique.


Mid-Life Crisis Or....

Or just haven't grown up yet! A couple of weeks ago I broke policy with the USFS. It wasn't intentional and I exacerbated the issue by not informing my supervisor. Frankly, I just forgot as the entire air unit was busy with covering days off, vacationing pilots and aircraft. Needless to say, I am being investigated.

During my "interview" (in which I should have had my Union Rep with me but didn't...another bone-headed mistake), I was basically accused of lieing to the Gov't and trying to cover it up. My duty day and my time sheet didn't match. My thinking was I wouldn't charge the USFS for 45 minutes of OT and eat the loss myself. I could afford it.

Also during the interview I was confronted with my own failings as a man. I was accused of being a showboat, unprofessional, and arrogant, among other things. (Yes...I have been all those and more.) I was told by a Washington office supervisor that he'd rather see me canned than fly any more.

As I look back at all that has gone on in the last 3-5 years I see a trend in my life.

I didn't like my job but I liked the money.

I was scared to death at times doing my job but wrote it off as a learning experience.

I have issues with arrogance and pride based on the way I think the world should run and have been vocal about some of the inanities of gov't work. (My former boss was right...he said I'd have problems with that!)

On the spiritual side I tended to justify my behaviour and attitudes by claiming freedom in Christ. While I do have freedom, I shouldn't be an asshole about it. I'm going to be 40 next month and I still don't know what I want out of life, what God wants out of my life (other than the basics, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, etc., etc., etc.) I feel like I need to leave aviation for a while and find something else. My wife kind of wants me to go to work at a grocery store! (Our friend runs one.)

So right now I need prayer.

Pray that all will work out with the USFS. (IE: They won't fire me!)

Pray that I will find out what's going on in my head.

Pray that I can set a course for the next 40 years of my life. Pray that the Doctor doesn't find anything wrong with me today. (I've had dizzy spells the last 4-5 months and difficulty concentrating for the last couple of years. Last week, I passed out after I got out of bed...)

As of yesterday (when I wrote this), I have been to the doctor...possibly low blood pressure...treadmill test on the 7th will determine.

Also...made an appointment to see a therapists regarding the ADD...

Life is hell right now...


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's The End of The "Click" As We Know...

...and I feel fine!

There's a group of people out there who are endeavouring to eliminate the need to "click" our Interesting web-site...

On another note...I still want a motorcycle. My son gave me a Father's Day card (actually his sister picked it out!) in the shape of a motorcycle. I think they're trying to convince the wife!

Eric ;)

Monday, June 20, 2005

It's A Guy Thing...

I haven't laughed this hard in months! I laughed so hard I was crying!

(HT to HLBB)

Follow me!

Eric ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

And Third Prize Goes To...


I entered 9 pictures in the Shasta County Fair this year. First time I've ever done this. Spent about $200 getting them enlarged, printed, mounted and entered. My wife and kids were at the Fair on Thursday and saw all but one of my daughter told me I had won 3rd Place...I even got a ribbon. I'm going on Sunday to see.

Here's the pic that won...

I'll post the other entries later...

Eric ;)

Friday, June 17, 2005

You EAT These Things?

When I was 10, my family lived in Maidenhead, England for about a year. One of the things we discovered were stinging nettles. They had dozens of little "stingers" on the leaves and grew wild in the fields. I remember one time I was running through a field and slipped and fell, tumbling actually, into a stinger nettle patch. Man...those things stung! My mom had to rub me down with witch hazel and calamine lotion. I looked like I had the chicken pox!

Now I see (HT to Yahoo News) that some people actually EAT these things! is the website for The Bottle Inn in Marshwood, Dorset, England. They host the World Championship Nettle Eating Contest every year. Apparently, there are some hearty souls out there who don't mind a bit of bite to the stuff they eat....

Personally...If I wanted something with a bite to it...I'd have a habanero burrito!

Eric ;)

I've Got To Fiiind Myself!

I remember saying that to my dad once...he just looked at me like I had grown wings out of my head. That catch phrase from the 60's/Boomer generation just didn't cut it with my generation. After generation was watching Speed Racer while the Boomer's were "droppin' in, turnin' on and tunin' out!"

But I'm not a Gen X'er either. I hated Nirvana and the whole grunge movement. Those who wore Birkenstocks were just wannabe Boomers to me. When all around me were growing their hair long and affecting a re-hashed, 60's, "I don't care" attitude, I went high and tight..."Give me a flat-top please Mr. Barber, sir!", and joined the "vast rightwing conservative conspiracy" because I thought Limbaugh made sense.

And many of my schoolmates and peers didn't seem to fit in with Boomers or X'ers either.

So what are we?

Were "Generation Jones". Mr. Pontell explains all in this link:

I finally feel like I fit in!! ;-)

Eric ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Not What I Expected...

When my son was born my biggest worry was that he'd grow up like me. A nerd. A geek. A klutz. A-social, few friends, suckerpunched. Fortunately he inherited from his mother an outgoing spirit. She is always smiling, introducing herself, making new friends. I don't. I'm aloof. Unsure. Quiet in unfamiliar surroundings. I'm not an open person. To compensate for that I'm often the goof, the clown, the odd one.

But the boy did get my sense of humor, my wit and my creativity. He turned out to be fairly balanced. He is liked by many of his peers, doesn't care a whole lot if people don't like him or don't believe as he believes, and is pretty smart in school.

It's my daughter who has inherited some of my negative traits.

She is quiet in a crowds, aloof, rarely smiles and thinks people are mean. My wife had to explain to her that she needs to be more outgoing, friendlier and smile more. People are more attracted to those who smile instead of those who glare! (I glare...alot...which is probably why I have a reputation for being "mean" at Kung Fu!) She has a sweet, tender heart and when she is your friend, she is your friend through thick and thin. She cries when people are mean to her because, one, she doesn't understand being mean to someone and, two, she is really sensitive. "Touchy" is how I put it.

So all this worrying about the boy being like me and it's my little girl who has adopted some of my weaker personality traits. I guess I need to connect with her more on an emotional level and help her through this. I overcame it, she can to...either that or I'm better at hiding it as I grow older! ;)

Eric ;)

Monday, June 13, 2005


Nothing like being reminded of your failings. Especially when a co-worker informs you that for the last two years, he really didn't care if he ever flew with you again and was nervous about when the day would come when he would have to.

A couple of years ago, I was a fresh smokejumper captain. I was sent to Grand Junction, Colorado with the jumpship for a two-week stint. Even though I had over 250 hours in the aircraft and was a qualified smokejumper captain, I lacked real-world experience. Add to that we were filling in for a different government agency who do things just a bit different and my own uncertainty in my abilities; things got stressful quick.

And when I stress, I tend to do things by myself. In aviation, that's called single-pilot. In the smokejumper aircraft, everything is two pilot. We employ CRM...crew/cockpit resource management. In otherwords, we rely on a consesus of all crew based on a guidline of behaviour and actions. If something is outside the predicted norm, the most conservative action is required.

In my single-pilot days, I was a cowboy. I got the job done. Period. I took risks that, to some may have seemed...well...risky, but were not really all that risky to me. I'm basically a chicken! I want to live but I will push the boundaries of my comfort zone on occasion. This relying on my own input is what I default to when I'm stressed.

But that was two years ago. In the meantime I've become more of a two-pilot crew kind of guy. Why? Because for the last two years, with the reduction in the number of aircraft available to us, we have been flying two pilots in everything. And with two pilots, even in a single-pilot aircraft, it's just easier to delegate some of the responsibilities onto the guy in the right seat.

Hopefully they won't blow the horn today and we won't have to deal with any interpersonal issues. But part of being a good captain is flying with weak co-pilots and picking up where they leave off; either verbally or by action. And since some of the weak co-pilots are actually captains themselves (and should know better!), it proves the saying that the worst co-pilot is a captain in the right seat!

I hate these learning experiences. Especially when someone can't let go of the fact that you screwed up once. Not giving you the chance to learn from the mistake and try again to rectify it. If I continue to screw up then me out. But at least give me a chance to redeem myself. Two years is a long time to hold a grudge. But then again, some of us still resent our parents and haven't let go of it long into our adulthood.

On a good friend Lauree (she did the web-design for The Writers Outpost) just received some really good news. Her biopsy came back clean! No sign of the big C...

Eric ;)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Endings and Beginnings...

I have shut the doors to a creative writing website I created about two years ago. It grew out of some people who had been writing fan-fiction at the Highlander Bulletin Board a few years back. It's first incarnation was called The Writers Post but the owner pulled a big hoax on all of us and when confronted, locked the doors. I created The Writers Outpost (TWO...get it??) and it flourished for some time.

Around the same time that TWP was started, I joined another creative writing venture on-line, this one revolved around role playing. (For those of you who still hold the Baptist fear of D&D...this isn't it!...I'm not going to hell!) About a year ago, I split off from that one and joined another one, much smaller and more intimate. My writing skills exploded. My on-line character grew and took on more meaning and nuances over the year.

I was enjoying myself! I was creatively writing at TWO and the on-line role playing. Both were therapuetic. TWO allowed me a place to delve into different genre's and try them out. It also allowed me to post humourous stories I had heard from others. In time I started a BLOG at TWO but then decided I wanted a place to really open up and let it all out.

I started the Blog of the LostDog.

Now I was writing in three different places. One of them was going to suffer. Unfortunately, that was TWO. Others on the board founded their own boards so as to concentrate on their particular brand of writing. Some stuck around and many just drifted off never to return.

After a lot of thinking I decided to shut the doors at TWO for a while. It wasn't an easy decision as I've truly enjoyed writing with many of the folks there. Tinsel, JG, Whey spring to mind. I loved reading stuff from Highland Heather, Ghost07 and The Young One. But I couldn't hold it on my own anymore.

So I shut the door and moved on. I re-opened this blog and I still write at the role-playing board and NaNoWriMo is coming up in just 5 short months. (NaNoWriMo - National November Writing Month...

This has been a year of changes. I don't know if it's coincidental that both my wife and I are turning 40 this year or if it's just God's timing/sense of irony. Like I said, we both turn 40, our oldest will be an official teenager in December, we took our kids out of their school and they will be attending University Prepatory School come September and we left our church of 6 years.

And I ordered a Utilikilt.

And I want a motorcycle.

Plus I bought a pair of black Converse Hightops with red flames on them!

My mother thinks I'm headed for a mid-life crisis...maybe...most likely not though.

I guess I'm at an age where I don't care as much what people think anymore. That if I'm trying my best to live the way I'm supposed to; love God, love my fellow man, etc., etc. then what does it matter if someone doesn't think I should ride a motorbike? I'm more careful now than I was at 21. I can afford it. (My son would LOOOVE for me to have one!) What does it matter if someone thinks my thoughts on life, the universe and everything are not the status quo? It's their problem if you ask me. I'm not harming anyone with my beliefs.

(This has been the part the intro banner refers to as "rambling"....)

As I am ready to close TWO, Tinse wrote this as a parting gift...

The waves gently broke on the beach, far beyond the horizon the sun continued its journey round the earth, now the sky still carried some of its light but this was now fading to an inky blackness. I sat on the balcony and taking a drag on my cigar sent smoke rings scurrying after the setting sun, a warm breeze tugged them apart before they had travelled far and their destruction distracted me from my thoughts.

The room was now deserted, the empty bottles and glasses stood as a testimony to the fact it had once been full. Some glasses, and some bottles as well I guess though I couldn’t be sure because of their opaque glass, had the remnants of drinks. In some cases the holder had staggered away having had their fill, others had simply forgotten where they had put down their drink and had ordered another.

In the corner lay a powder blue sweater. I remembered the owner, a tall blonde who had had more than enough before the sun had even touched the sea. It was doubtful she would still be awake as this night formed.

Far out to sea, possibly beyond the horizon, lightening flashed as if nature was trying to make up for the missing sun. The storm would be heading towards me. Draining my glass I knew it was time to go, I had business in the night, obligations, that would not keep me here.

The sound of the doors to the balcony closing echoed slightly as if to remind me that I was on my own, I caught a bottle with my feet and it rolled away to one side it coming to rest on the blue sweater, as if to remind me to take it with me. Gathering the sweater up there was a faint smell of perfume, enough to make me think of the girl again. Yes, in the morning I would pay her a visit.

At the door I took one last look around, the empty chairs and table, sofa, glasses and bottles, then, with a flick of a switch they joined the night. Outside I threw the sweater onto the back seat as I got into my car. For one moment I wanted to go back inside, pour a drink and pray the storm wouldn’t find me. But it was coming. I started the car and drove off to become part of the night.

Thanks Tinse....

Eric ;)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Got this from Mickey's Funnies...


10. Teach him the secret male ritual of leaving the toilet seat up and the toilet paper roll empty.

9. Have a ceremony where you give him his own remote control.

8. Lead him through an afternoon of rigorous physical training in the back yard while you sit in a lawn chair with a half-gallon of ice cream.

7. Eat until you're about to burst and then ride the Screamin' Hurler roller coaster.

6. Put cream on his face and let the cat shave him with its tongue.

5. Walk behind him through his school halls yelling, "You da man!"

4. Send him to the local discount store to buy mom's "personal things."

3. Give him Grandma's lime green Gremlin with personalized license plates that say, "TUFFGUY."

2. Send the womenfolk shopping, then get out your secret Old Yeller video and have a good cry together.

1. Shot put catching.


My son, Matt, is 12...he'll be 13 in December but is already to move into Jr. High. He's pretty smart and witty; all the girls love him and the guys like him alot. Unlike his old man who was pretty much a nerd and a geek who was sucker-punched just about every day. But like his old man, he has a gift for writing. He even does poetry which I'm not so good at.

Example. For his class project, they had to write a poem about spring using their vocabulary words. Most kids have problems spelling words much less understanding them. Here is his poem...


Spring is the envelope to a love letter holding someone's secrets and hopes,
Spring sounds like the inaubible, peaceful melody of a butterfly's flapping wings,
Spring tastes like a refreshing glass of ice water on a blazing summer day,
Spring smells like the first rose in your mom's garden,
Spring looks as radiant as the girl next door,
Spring makes you feel like waking up to a new day.

Not bad for a twelve-year-old boy!

He's no longer the little boy I once knew. He is slowly maturing into a young man. He still has those vestiges of little boy in him; he still has some stuffed animals and likes to hug and kiss his Mom. He even gets along with his sister...most of the time. He is discovering that teasing one's little sister is a perverse joy that, even though you know Mom and Dad are gonna eventually holler down the hall to "KNOCK IT OFF!"; it's worth it! I still recall with fondness driving my sister to near tears by teasing her relentlessly!

Oh yeah...he wants me to get a motorcycle too. He brought it up a couple of years ago, out of the blue, with no prompting from me whatsoever. Honest. I wasn't even looking at motorcycles at the time...Honest!

Eric ;)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cultural Creative

One of the things the internet is good for is quizzes. Those funny tests where you answer a series of questions that, no matter what you pick, has already been skewed a certain way. I love taking these things and messing with the results. I can be anything from a strict, anal-retentive, ultra-calvinistic christian to a pseudo-intellectual, post-modern agnostic.

The latest of these to pop up on the World Weird Web is this one... (HT to BHT)

Here's how I scored...

You scored as Cultural Creative.
Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative - 63%
Fundamentalist - 38%
Postmodernist - 38%
Idealist - 31%
Existentialist - 31%
Romanticist - 25%
Modernist - 19%
Materialist - 13%

Which, if I interpret this correctly, I'm leaning towards agnosticism. Truly, I thought it would come out more along the lines of Fundamentalist; which is #2 on the hit parade.

When my wife and I were going through pre-marital counseling we had to take the Taylor-Johnson Temperment Analysis. Another couple we knew had taken it and Dan told me that it was just too tempting to skew. The TJTA is supposed to be taken twice. First time you merely give knee-jerk, initial reactions. The second time you thoughtfully consider what your future mate would answer. As I was taking it I had to suppress the same tendency Dan had to skew it drastically. Our Pastor was concerned that if there were ever a time when both my wife to be and I were depressed or down, we may explode our marriage.

Hasn't happened.

Neither have the other things we were warned about happened. We've had our ups and downs. We had more fights in the first 6 months of my son's life than we did in the previous four years. Amazing what kind of stress an infant can put on you! Eventually, we talk things out and our love for one another overcomes any troubles that brew. We both take time to step back and re-evaluate our behaviour and modify it out of love...sometimes guilt, but mostly out of love!

Eric ;)

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Found this over at The Boar's Head Tavern ...

Christianity started out in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. - Sam Pascoe

American's a great thing when it comes to planes, trains and automobiles; building a better mousetrap and sending men to the moon. But I think it needs to stay out of religion...kind of like what our Founding Fathers said in the First Amendment...

Speaking of America...found this at Odd Todd... (

Eric ;)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Michael Jackson's Peers? has a story that refers to MJ's "peers" in its slug.,2933,158579,00.html

I'm sorry...the good folks of Santa Maria are NOT Jackson's peers. His peers would acquit him in a New York Minute! It also begs the question whether Mr. Jackson has any "peers"?

I remember "peers" being described as the people with whom fit in with regards to age, occupation and location. In other words...a jury of MY peers would be full of Redding/Northern California pilots in their late 30's. To refine it further they would also profess a faith in Jesus Christ and study a martial art, be married with two children in their pre-teens and own two weiner dogs!

Oh yeah...they'd also have to be government workers. At the GS12 level.

And male.

And blond.

And blue-eyed.

And tattooed.

Like rock...dislike rap.

Enjoy written satire and action flicks.

And be a recovering Baptist.

So a jury of Mr. Jackson's peers are probably not the good folks of Santa Maria. Instead it would have to be some of the loonier folks in the music and entertainment business. Jerry Springer and/or those appearing on his show spring to mind. And those who dress like Mr. Jackson...when they are in their 40's.

Sad...they need to get out and breath real air once in awhile.

Those I feel sorriest for are the reporters who have been stuck in Santa Maria for four months. Not that Santa Maria is not a nice place; it's rather nice this time of year. But four months away from home, family and familiarity covering a trial that is, at best, a waste of taxpayers money, takes its toll on anyone. Even the most hardened, jaded reporter.

I also feel sorry for the good folks of Santa Maria. For years to come they will always talk about the weirdos from the media and L.A. who descended on their quiet town to cover a trial that is, at best a (say it with me now) waste of taxpayers money (and time).

We'll find out next week what the verdict is. I suspect it will be delivered inside of a week. Then we can go back to watching the next missing kid/car chase/drop in the Dow/Senate fillibuster on the news channels...Michael Jackson will be forgotten about until the next time he does something warped...either because he is warped or he thinks any press is good press...

Eric ;)

Maytag Repairman

I am the only one in the office boss/co-pilot is at his kids soccer games. Two games and two post-season parties. He calls me and says he's "on-call" if anything happens.


I coulda snaked me another long weekend. But my schedule shifted from Sat/Sun off to Sun/Mon off for fire season...which doesn't start until the 15th. Oh well...I did score some overtime last Monday.

What is it with women and motorcycles? I've only met a few women (barring chopper chicks) who enjoy riding and/or don't mind if their husbands do. It's not like I'm going to abandon my family for roadtrips every weekend. I see it as an economical and fun way to get around in the warmer months. Some women see it as juvenile, macho, Peter Pan-complex behaviour. It's also on my list of things to do before I die...own my own motorcyle. I've had others before but they belonged to roommates.

I guess if you've never ridden you won't understand the feeling riding a motorcycle. It's not just any one thing. It's not just the wind pressing against your body. It's not just having 1400cc's of power under your butt controlled with a flick of your wrist. It's not just the physical sensations of acceleration; of the centrifugal force as you are pulled through a turn; the adrenaline rush at going from a standstill to 60 mph in a few seconds. It's not just the particular kind of freedom you feel when you are by yourself, astride on your steel steed, letting the world fade away in the rear-view mirror.'s all of that and a bag of chips!

Maybe she'll understand someday.

Eric ;)

Friday, June 03, 2005

I'm Back...

After a brief sabbatical...I'm back. Apparently some people took issue with some of the things I had written here previously to the point where they printed out much of what I said and confronted me to my face with it. I didn't realize anyone was reading this as writing things out is mainly theraputic for me. I also learned I need to couch what I say so that it says what I want it to say...both in denotation and interpretation.

I should have a few new pics to put up...need to wait until the wife develops the boy's disposable camera. We went with his school on a "scientific" houseboat trip on Shasta Lake and went spelunking. A good time was had by all.

Also picked up a Utilikilt which I won't get until Father's Day...

Still trying to obtain a motorcycle to fulfill my New Year's Resolution. Found one...just need the wife to agree...I may be waiting a while!

That's all for now...

Eric ;)