Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It ain't all helicopters

We don't save daylight here. Sorta pointless cuz the difference in day length is quite small. Actually, it's kinda pointless everywhere. I remember when i was a kid, the common theory on why we had DST was "For the farmers." As if farmers give a shit, their animals certainly don't and farmers don't feel like they didn't spend enough time outside at the end of their workday. It all started with a bug-catching (few people respect the power of entomologists) mailman in New Zealand. Join me and punch a Kiwi.

I just ran out of Dr. Bronner's so i needed some shampoo. I used Dr. B before I got married, then I switched to whatever frizz control vibrant color bullshit was in the shower, then I got a bunch of toiletries when the Skustads left town, then back to Dr. B. Anyway, i'm in front of all these choices and I don't want to choose (is that RUSH I hear in the background? ) so I grab an orange bottle cuz I'm going through an orange phase. The stuff smells terrible and leaves my hair greasy. I read the label. Turns out it's conditioner.

I grabbed a beer and a burger after flag football (when my muscles started to stiffen I found a spot that I can push on my trapezius muscle that makes the side of my face vibrate, aging is awesome ) on Saturday. It was Kona Brew Fest. I decided not to attend for two reasons, one- it was a daytime event and b- 8 4oz. samples for sixty dollars. That's 30 bucks a point. Anyway, I'm at the bar with the best onion rings I've had in a long time enjoying a five dollar pint. The bar has a great view for lurking cuz it's upstairs and open-air. The streets are full of drunks, which I find amusing and confusing. Two pints? I know people feel the effects more when it's hot, but come on. Anyway, two 25ish yr. old males ask me to scoot down one stool so they can sit together. I comply and we strike up a conversation. These boys are deeee-runk. How a good bartender deals with a drunk that wants more, "Drink this water first, we'll see how that goes." How this bartender did it, "I'm sorry, you're both cut off." First guy tries to plead his case. Second guy storms out, stumbles down the stairs, staggers into the street and gets hit by a car. I'm sure he went limp and didn't get too hurt but he did get a ride in the red box with the flashing lights.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The other Harry Truman

The private pilot license came in the mail yesterday. An envelope inside of an envelope, both with postage paid. Gub'ment waste, that shit adds up. So it has Wright brothers front and back, three planes, no helicopters. It's the same thing with the cover of the regulations, the test prep workbooks, the instrument manuals.

I won't go on a Harley vs. Honda rant but, geez. Helicopters help us realize the dream of flight better than airplanes. Sure, planes have several advantages but Da Vinci never drew one. Ask any little kid what kind of bird he/she would like to be. You find a kid that says, "I want to be an albatross because they have a 22:1 glide ratio," and I'll take you and the poor retarded little bastard on a flight over the lava flows. Ah well, checkers sell more than chess.

Speaking of lava flows, one thing I couldn't show you and the cone-head in love with birds that can only take off in a stiff breeze, is the only house to survive the eruption in the 80's. The old guy turned his luck into a novelty vacation spot. He ran a B+B with heli-only access until Saturday. We've had a bunch of quakes the last couple of weeks, which have increased the lava flow. The old man got to watch the river of fire consume his house from the left seat of a Bell 407.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Eggs Benedict

I had a bizarre dream. I got into a rock-throwing fight while jogging. A few guys from the flight school came to my rescue and it turned into a full-on rumble. A thin version of Bufford T. Justice pulled up and got out of the car, big hat, badge and all. He arrested me and threw me into the cab of an eight-teen wheeler. So weird, I don't jog.

It jolted me awake. I rolled over and had a look at the clock, 3:02. Then our rooster crowed. Fuck. Might as well get out of bed. No way I'd get back to sleep once the chicken symphony kicked in, plus I was gonna get up at four a.m. anyway. Why rise to see the first four of the day? Cuz that's when the forecast comes out.

The first time I was part of a go-no-go decision regarding weather was as a packer in Yakutat. Paul and I decided we could get an old guy up a mountain to shoot a goat before the remnants of a typhoon off the coast of Japan got to us. We spent a long night up on a ridge top taking turns holding up the broken tent poles while the old guy snored. Alaskan Guide Series Tent, my ass.

Before one can test for a Commercial License several requirements must be met. I hoped to check two of those off my list. I plotted a course to Lanai. That would take care of the greater than 50 nautical miles cross country. Routing the flight over to Maui and landing at several airports on the way home would fulfill another. One thing I noticed while planning the return trip was that the Hana Airport notes mentioned wild boars on and in the vicinity of the runway. Plus there's a nudie beach just west of the strip. That figured into choosing my flight altitude.

Why Maui? A friend I used to play baseball and get in all sorts of trouble with in high school was on Maui with his wife for vacation. I hadn't seen him in seventeen years (I usually swear my family to secrecy when I go back to visit) so why not meet for lunch?

No red flags in the weather so I headed down to do my preflight. I took off to the northwest and flew the heading I had calculated. You can usually see Maui from the airport but thanks to the vog (volcanic fog, which makes my eyes itch just like the pure air of New Delhi) it was CSS (can't see shit). Plenty of visibility to see and avoid aircraft but a little disconcerting at my skill level cuz if I missed the island by swinging too far to the south, I'd run out of fuel somewhere that would require deploying my inflatable PFD.

There are several systems in place to help pilots avoid that fate like flight following service. So I put the transponder to the code they gave me and tried to enjoy the whales and dolphins below and not think about the possibilities if I heard a new noise coming from the engine. I mean, shit, the water's warm and the tiger sharks eat at night so I should be all right.

But I can tell you that it's pretty yucky to see nothing but blue water and grey sky for the better part of an hour while you go over worst-case scenarios in your head. Oh sweet, if something's gonna go wrong, I hope it's right now cuz I could make it to that boat and they could pick me up. Never mind, they're outta of sight. Hey what's that up ahead? Sweet victory, not real positive that it's Lanai, but it is land.

It was Lanai. I touched down and took off headed to Maui, which I could see. Cake and pie. I arrived a little later than I had forecasted but who gives a hot fuck?

Dean and Mickey have avoided the deep-fried cheese curd physique and generally seemed super happy. They vacillated between giving me mad shit for avoiding them on visits to the homeland and thanking me for flying to meet them.

We hopped into the rented Jeep and headed to Paia for brunch. I had the Kailui pork (pit-roasted pig) benedict to honor the wild boars I hoped to see on the Hana runway. Dean took a shortcut back to transient parking that took us right under the ATC tower and required four-wheel drive. His wife reminded him that just because a high school pal was in the backseat, he didn't have to act like a dipshit.

The trip home was beautiful, bouncy and uneventful. No pigs, no nudists.