Friday, October 24, 2008

Of Roller Coasters

I hated roller coasters when I was a kid. Scared the crap out of me. Then, in Jr. High, at Magic Mountain, home of "The Revolution", the worlds first loop coaster, and at the urging of my friends (peer pressure at its finest!), I got on "The Revolution" and found out...


I really like roller coasters!

So much so that I really only like sitting in the front seat of many of the coasters I've been on. It's probably the closest anyone can come to aerobatic flying without an airplane.

In the movie, "Parenthood", Steve Martin's character feels as if life is out of control. In a scene near the end, he is on a roller coaster watching as all hell breaks loose around him. Life has always been associated with roller coasters for as long as there have been roller coasters. Scary and fun and upsetting and thrilling and nauseating and...well you get the picture.

Today was a good roller coaster day.

I actually felt good about flying airplanes again. My stomach didn't nut up when I thought about flying. I actually watched the Weather Channel and thought if I was flying in the Midwest right now I'd be shooting ILS's all day! I applied for a couple of jobs (that I probably won't get but if you don't ask, you'll never know!) Then I went and got the mail.

My former employer had until October 8th to appeal the decision by the EDD judge to reinstate my UI benefits. As that date came and went I waited for the notification. When it seemed like it wasn't going to come I relaxed a little.

But when I opened the mailbox this morning I saw the oh so familiar yellow paper showing through the window on the oh so familiar envelope with the oh so familiar label, "Employment Development Department" on it. My stomach clenched because I knew what it was immediately.

My former employer appealed the appeal. The bottom line is they are still insisting that I was still in the air when I raised the gear and that the Judge really didn't understand what it was I was doing. The implication in their words, without coming right out and saying it but quoting the Section 1256 of the EDD code, was that I willfully and wantonly raised the gear. That I purposely did this to hurt the company.

(Look...if I really wanted to hurt the company, putting a plane down on the runway without its gear down with people on board is the LAST thing I would do!!)

So, I re-iterated my closing argument, included the NTSB report that stated the action was "inadvertent", included pictures that show that the gear was down upon landing, and that I had "landed" the airplane. I will sit on it over the weekend and have an attorney look at it before I mail it.

To be honest, I was (still am at this writing) sooooo freakin' angry. Boiling. Irate. Steamed. At my former employer. It's not like their rate is going to go up. It's already at the highest rate. It's not like $10,000 is going to break the bank with them. They drop $4-$5 million on helicopters (four of which they've crashed this year, killing 9 people in the process), they send my former Dir. of Operations to Redding to the appeal and now they are appealing the appeal.

Personally, I think it's a bit of "we have the power, we will bury you" attitude. They took it personally. And I thinks there's a bit of revenge against me for having called out the D.O. for questioning a legitimate weather turn down and him telling me to send a pilot out on a flight that was illegal.

That was only part of the roller coaster ride. The high fall from the top; weightless for a moment, stomach riding up in your body, bile tickling your throat only to be followed by the crush of G's as you rocket up into the loop, again, momentarily weightless at the top, then smashed back into your seat as you plummet to the bottom only to be rocketed out into a high G turn.

It was later in the day that the ride slowed as we climbed the next hill. I ran into the gal who has been my liason with IASCO. (They are supposedly going to hire me to teach Chinese students how to fly.) She mentioned, again, that she's asked the Chief Flight Instructor to call me and let me know when I might be hired. It seems that the pieces are falling into place and they should be up and running the first week of December.

God works in funny ways. I was first told it would be Sept. 1. Then it was Oct 15. Then it was Nov. 15th. That was going to be a problem as I have a family reunion of sorts over Thanksgiving in Texas to which we've already bought plane tickets and they are non-refundable. I figured if it was Nov. 15th, I'd be hosed as I would be leaving the next week for Texas. Now it's working out a little better. I'm nearing the top of the next hill and I can just start to see the horizon through the clouds....maybe...


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Have I Mentioned...

....that I really don't like Microsoft products anymore??

Or PC's anymore?

Really...the only MS product I use on a regular basis (besides XP) is Office and even that can be replaced by Open Office.

The more my laptop has issues, the more I want a MacBook Pro. Heck...any Mac will do.

There are only 2 programs I use that only run on Windows...

Logbook Pro
Paint Shop Pro

I can run WinXP as a Parallel to use Logbook Pro and I can download GIMP or Elements to photo edit.

So why do I need a buggy, virus-susceptible, platform that merely mimics what Apple's been doing for years?

I know the prices for Mac's are much higher than PC's but I added it up...If I'd had purchased a MacBook and an iMac, I would have spent about the same on what I have now. (Hardware and software included.)

Oh well...when I have the money and when they old PC's will be donated to a museum and I'll drop the dime on Mac's...


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Won't Get Fooled Again

Do you realize you probably get lied to on a daily basis? By people who purposely mislead you to get what they want?

We decided, due to my unemployment, to refi the house. Lending Tree said, "sure, we can do that!"

What was said on the phone: "We finance our own loans."

What's said in the documentation: "We intend to sell 100% of all loans."

What was said on the phone: "We need $400 dollars on your credit card to lock-in your interest rate. This will be reimbursed to you in the form of a check once the loan closes."

What's said in the documentation: "Your lock-in fee will not be refunded for any other reason (other than Lender is not able to close the loan)."

What was said on the phone: "There are no other closing fees other than the $3131 quoted."

What's said in the documentation: Column after column of "other" fees.

When confronted with these "discrepancies", we're told, "Well we don't know what your mortgage banker's fees are?"

"But you said there were no other fees?"

"No other fees from us."

"Even after we asked if there were any other fees, anywhere?"

"Well we don't know what your mortgage banker's fees are?"

"So you lied to us?"

"No. There was a miscommunication."

" that's what a lie is called today!"



"Why God? Why all this stuff I, we've gone through?"


"Because why?"

"Because I am God."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"What's what supposed to mean?"

"What's 'Because I am God' supposed to mean? I mean, what kind of answer is that? I know you're God and God does what God does for a reason. I'm looking for the reason?"

"Hmmm...I have many reasons. But the answer to your question is, 'Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer?'"

"What kind of Professor X answer is that!"

"I am God. I do what I want to do because I am God. Look Eric, You don't get to know everything that I know. If you knew everything that I know then you'd be God and while God is great and God is good, God you'll never be. It's a mystery. You like mysteries. You read a ton of them!"

"Yeah, but at the end of the book, I get to find out the 'why'!"

"I know...isn't it great!"


"And does it always make sense? When the writer gives you his or her explanation? Or do you sometimes wonder whether they've lost their touch?"

"Arguing with you is never fun."

"On the contrary. I enjoy talking with My children. Not all of them take the time out to talk with me. Most ask and run. Many plead and beg and barter but never fulfill. Many curse at me, rant at me, rail at me.'ve done that haven't you?"



"The end result was you were still there, silently taking it all."

"Right. And did you always get an answer?"


"Look. It's a mystery. I didn't tell Job did I? Did I? No. And have you lost all? Job. Home. Children. Respect?"


"I'll take your silence to mean 'no'."


"Have I ever let you down? Have I ever left you forsaken? Hungry? Unclothed? Unfed?"


"Did I not provide you with a home, a wife, children, a livelihood, skills, talents, ambitions, discernment? Did I not save you, Patrick and Patti from smacking the ground? Well?"

"Like I said, arguing with you is no fun."

" has it's uses...just not here, not now. Remember, I am God. The last group of people who trifled with me have been in a constant state of war with their neighbors for millenia!"

"Uh...right. Sorry."


*heavy sigh*

"I take it from your sigh that you are at least willing to concede that I am and have the right to remain, a mystery at times? That what I do I do according to My will? That My will is, after all, My will and being God I get to do whatever My will wants and My will wants what's best for My creation."


" go out and play today. No more sitting by the computer! It's sunny and you have errands to run."




"I get the last word Eric. I am God remember?"