Archive for the ‘Everett’ Category

After almost a week of trying, I soloed at Paine Field today. This is important because it’s a busy, towered airport with a small runway rather than a nice, quiet, non-towered airport in the middle of nowhere like Arlington.

On Monday, the clouds were too low for me to fly at all. On Tuesday, the wind was too gusty for me to chance flying alone. On Wednesday, my brain and body were being bitches, and there were 5 planes in the pattern because the weather was nice. Today, I had my first send-off lunch at Fiesta Latina before my lesson, and it looks like a burrito drenched in creamy tomatillo sauce made all the difference.

Why a send-off lunch? As of Monday, I will no longer be driving to Everett three days a week (or more). I found a job close to home and I’m excited to start! I’m going to keep flying and temporarily contracting at my current job until they replace me, but I’d rather spend a long Saturday up here doing a little work, flying for a bit, and then playing cards up at Tulalip than barrel up and down I-5 three weekdays.

I’ll be busy as hell getting on board at the new job, but I still plan to keep doing aquarium stuff. Apparently, WordPress, Blue Host, or some other web entity didn’t like my use of J-word when referring to a picture of an octopus spermatophore. The male octopus had a release a few days before he was to mate with our female octopus on February 14th. All that went well, and they have since been sent back into the wild and replaced.

Just to show my Internet Big Brother who’s boss, here’s a picture of two harlequin shrimp mating:

The crab in the background totally wants in on that action. He had a better view than my scrambled-aquarium-pr0n camera, too.

If I said I woke up at 5:30 this morning, that would only be part of the truth. I also woke up at 12:15, 2, 2:30, 4, and 5:20. I was hot, I was cold, I was dreaming about a BDH customer I forgot I had and was scrambling to get a Scrabble bingo so I could properly meet their pre-arranged requests. (What?) I even went as far as continuing the dream after waking up once, still thinking I had the client, and tried to solve my Scrabble conundrum.

I could also blame my restlessness on the foul sustenance that is Chinese delivery, and the fact that I did nothing entertained company from my home all day yesterday.

At any rate, waking up wasn’t easy. I received an email from a potential client (absent of Scrabble requests, thankfully). I nicked my rear right tail light on a pole (the hearse is fine). And then I drove to Everett, listening to an NPR segment about obesity. A 50-year-old woman admitted to spending each one of her birthday wishes on being thin. She had recently lost 80 pounds in 8 months and ran a marathon. It reminded me first that I am lucky for being thin and doing nothing… then I remembered I ran a marathon once upon a time too.

I got to Paine Field, and the plane shook as I went through my pre-flight checklist. We were bombarded with gusts of wind reaching 30 mph as we ascended from the small runway. The plan was to make closed traffic and do a few touch-and-gos. “It will be a good learning experience,” my instructor said.

By our third take-off, I was feeling nauseous. I was tired, and frankly a little frightened by my lack of control of the plane. It was difficult to turn, and when I could, I was often thrust into turns steeper than I intended. The crosswind component was flirting with the plane’s limits, and we only stayed in the air for about 30 minutes.

However, all that really matters are the last 2 or 3. I executed a smooth, steady landing in that crosswind. Funny how the prospect of crashing a plane will wake you the fuck up and get your ass in gear. Left aileron into the wind, right rudder smashed into the floor, I fucking killed it.

My nervousness about flying solo is gradually fading. I definitely wouldn’t have flown in this by myself, but it’s good to know if conditions ever get that dicey while I’m in the air, I can handle it. Now it’s time for copious amounts of coffee and hopefully a nap later.

“Going off the grid” used to be the understood lingo to signify you were going to disappear without a trace. Without. A Trace. This meant you were leaving home, giving up almost all of your possessions, telling no one where you going or if you’d be back, and heading to some remote location where no one will ever find you.

With the advent of cool gadgets that can do everything but wipe our asses for us, this phrase has taken on a new meaning. It means you deleted facebook. It means you’re not on the internet as often. It means you moved to a new apartment across town because you’re too big of a pussy to break up with your significant other.

For me, it meant going more than a week without a phone while I wait for work to get me a new one. Yes, I’m lucky to have an employer who will replace my scuffed, dilapidated Blackberry which may or may not have found its way into the bottom of a toilet because it fell out of my sleeve, which is not as secure as I thought. I’m also lucky to have dropped it around the time Blackberry was having problems with text messaging anyway AND Apple is releasing a new iPhone, thus bringing down the price of previous generations. That luck ran out today, though. I reached the office a little after 8, and “Good morning” was replaced with “No Internet.”

So now I’m stuck in Everett, an hour away from home, with no contact with the outside world. I have no Internet and no phone, save for the one at my desk which has a cord attached. I have used it exactly once: to place an order for a new phone. I have a flying lesson and a gig after work, and I’m using a desk phone like it’s fucking 1982. Why don’t I just send a goddamn fax while I’m at it… Were fax machines even around back then? I’d look up the information myself but there’s NO INTERNET.

Still, I’m not off the grid. Far from it. I showed up to work and went to a meeting. The set of people most likely to call the police and file a missing persons report in my prolonged absence know exactly where I am. And yet, everyone but my boss went to lunch, so I can’t help but feel like the captain’s first mate, voluntarily joining him on this sinking ship.

But the captain has a cell phone! I don’t!

Scratch that. The admin just walked in with my new iPhone 4. Of course, I can’t just turn it on and let it find a cell tower. That would enable me only to use it for its intended purpose: calling people. Nope, this is a state-of-the-art, all-in-one computing device commonly considered a “smart” phone. It needs a wireless network to set up iTunes, so I can do all my bullshit through there. It doesn’t realize our network is down and automatically search for the next best thing.

SMARTPHONE: Y U NO SMART ENOUGH TO LOOK FOR A CELL TOWER?

****

It’s several hours later and we’re back. As a coworker put it, the Internet is still “slower than pig snot.” My iTunes download is going to take 6 hours. At least I got the info I need to carry on with my day. It’s amazing how reliant we become on technology that barely existed 10 years ago. My greater worry is not my own personal desire to be in touch, but others’ expectations that I have the necessary technology available to return correspondence in a timely manner. I can go without either a phone OR the internet for quite awhile, but missing both presents a problem for school, work, and customers. I guess we’ll see how things go this evening. At the very least, I should get some uninterrupted time to get gas and wash the hearse!

Today at work, I got a new keyboard, a ring with a scary guy on it, and six cans of Four Loko (not pictured).

Starting November 18, Washington consumers won’t have to put up with the annoying task of reading labels and thinking for themselves as much. The state Liquor Control Board approved an emergency ban on caffeinated alcoholic beverages after a bunch of kids downed too much Four Loko at a party. I hear the stuff is friggin’ awful, rivaling brands like Thunderbird and Cisco in brain-pulverizing, tongue-insulting raunchiness.

So a cow-orker and I had to run out and get six cans each during our lunch break. We were going to look for them at Janky Albertson’s, but there was a convenience store conveniently located right in between Al’s and that damn Mexican place where we ate.

At my cow-orker’s behest, I also bought a stupid ring. When you buy a bunch of shitty drinks, you have to buy a shitty piece of jewelry that will turn your skin green to remember the experience.

Also, I may get lucky if I decide to celebrate my 30th out of town. All flights out of Sea-Tac now include a free groping from TSA. Aw guys… you shouldn’t have!