Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...


Every year, my wife wants me to get all of the Christmas stuff out of the attic the day after Thanksgiving. Every year...I put it off until Sunday! After church we put on some Mannheims Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra with a sprinkling of Vince Guaraldi's "Charlie Brown Christmas" and set up the real fake tree. I string up the lights and the put up the red beads and set our 17-year-old angel on the top. Then the kids and the wife decorate the tree with ornaments and 24 of the 50-some odd balls we started out with 19 years ago!

So our house looked a little messy for a while...

Messy House

More Messy House

Even after 5 years, the dogs are still confused about what's going on. Bandit, the black Doxie, wanders in and among everything. Samson, the red Doxie, gives up early and lays on his pillow!

Confused Dogs

Even the wife is bit confused!

Confused Wife

But in the end the tree looks good...even Samson thinks so!

End Results


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Am I Reading Too Much Into This?

Historically, FAR 135 Operation Specifications (that book that tells an operator what they can and cannot do), has had errors in it in the management category. When I was Chief Pilot, my name never showed up on the Ops Specs. As a matter of fact, by the time the Ops Specs caught up with me, there had been 2 Chief Pilots after me! Not uncommon.

I got our revision today for our Ops Specs and noticed some things in the management structure that struck me odd. We've changed Chief Pilots and the new CP's name was in all the right places save for one. No problem. Happens.

Then I looked at the individual base Lead Pilots of which I am one.

Someone else's name was in the spot where mine should have been. Hmmm...

The name that is there is the guy who transferred from the Lake Havasu base where he was the Lead Pilot, to our base where I'm the Lead Pilot. In his place in Lake Havasu is the guy who used to be Lead Pilot and is now the new Lead Pilot and the Ops Specs shows that. The company has opened another base and basically pointed to 2 guys and said, "You're going here." The other two pilots had volunteered to go including one from my base. (My problem pilot.)

I just get this gut feeling that I'm being replaced as Lead Pilot and I had to find out by reading the Ops Specs. No phone call. No email. No heads up. This concerns me because the Ops Specs were finalized on October 30th. Which means they were submitted long before then. (The wheels of government grind exceeding slow.) On several occasions I've asked the higher-ups to explain to me just what being a Lead Pilot entailed. What authority do I have? Where do I fall in the hierarchy of the base? (There's a medical side to the base and an aircraft side to the base. You can break the aircraft side into airplane and helicopter so there are 3 chains of command at our base!) To whom do I take my lead from?

I never really got a clear answer. I was led to believe the Lead Pilot position was the one who did all the paperwork, made the schedule and was the go-between between the home base in Phoenix and Modesto and Lafayette and Redding. That's what I asked and that's what I was told in clarification. But comments and emails expecting me to do other things from different chains of command and no clear answers to questions made the job somewhat frustrating.

I really have no problem giving up the Lead Pilot position and just becoming a line pilot. The only downside is the extra $30/day I get for being Lead Pilot. It adds up to over $4000/year. The thing is, 10 days of work-over gives me the same kind of money and I get more than 10 days of work-over in a year so it's kind of a moot point.

I don't know...gut is rumbling. Not feeling good about this.

I sent an email to the Director of Operations asking about the situation. Awaiting and answer will make this a long weekend...


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Zen of Sarcasm

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. Its always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don' t succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the wind shield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My Old Youth Pastor...

...hits the big time!

Tom Mercer and High Desert Church Rocks!

When I was in Jr. High, our little Conservative Baptist church, Foothill Baptist on 15th Street in Upland, got a new Youth Pastor. Tom Mercer had longish hair, a mustache, drove a white Camaro with orange stripes and played Larry Norman tunes on his guitar in Sunday School. He took the High School group and grew it into the largest in the area. He developed "Power Unlimited" (PU to us!), a youth choir of about 100 teens that also did drama, and then took them on the road. We "toured" every summer and spring.

Tom taught the Bible. Pretty in depth on Wednesday nights. He was cool, hip, a bit radical but not too far over the edge. Was always on the cutting edge with ideas...or at least very near the edge. Looking back, I'm surprised at some of the stuff that he got approval for. We had a very straight-laced congregation and Deacon board. The Pastor at the time was open to Tom's way of doing things and as far as I know, really didn't call Tom on the carpet too much although I wasn't privy to staff meetings.

(I became a avid Wittenburg Door reader because of Tom and even stole a subscription form from a copy of the magazine he had laying around the office.)

Tom eventually left Foothill and accepted the Senior Pastorate at High Desert Baptist church in Victorville. Several of his old youth leaders followed him and the church has grown immensely. HDC is what church is in the 21st. Century. Much different than what I grew up with. Much different. I would like to visit one day...