Monday, August 31, 2015

Hmm, And There Were No Immediate Demands For Knife Control....

Yet again, someone with known mental issues isn't stopped until he kills someone, or in this sad case someones.

The Detroit Free Press: 2 found fatally stabbed in Sterling Heights

A 20-year-old man is in custody after police said he stabbed his grandfather and uncle to death and critically injured his grandmother in a Sterling Heights home Monday morning.

There's no real motive that we have as far as the reason for what he did," Smith said.

Police do not believe alcohol or drugs are a factor.

"In interviewing him, he appears to be mentally unstable," Smith said.

Mental illness is a very large contributing factor to crime, especially violent crime. It's well past time to replace our current system of having a course of outpatient optional treatment followed by jail when someone goes off their meds and commits crimes or kills someone.

What to replace it with is the question.

Seen In The Hallway At The Office This Morning

It's a Zombie Jack-In-The-Box. Run away!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Smoked Beef Ribs - It's What's For Dinner

Tash wanted me to try something different on the smoker so I decided to give Beef Back Ribs a try.

First take the ribs from their package, cut into chunks, and give em a nice rub down.

Then heat up the smoker to 200 degrees. I used Hickory wood this time for a stronger flavor than cherry wood.

Add the meat and let smoke for four and a half hours until nice and tender.

After four and a half hours, check for doneness and if nice and tender, remove from the smoker.

A test of one rib indicated they were perfectly tender and awesomely beefy and flavorful.

Now they're in the oven keeping warm after being glazed in BBQ sauce and some apple juice so they will be ready for dinner and company tonight.

Yellowjacket Wars - Part 2

So far chemical warfare has yet to rid us of these meddlesome pests. Their numbers have markedly declined but there's still quite a few around.

Thanks to a commenter who sent me a suggestion, we're giving the Rescue W·H·Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellow jackets try:

It's now setup and we'll see how many yellowjackets it catches, if any.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Flying Lesson #6 - Steep Turns And Stalls, Now With More Power!

Lesson 6 began at 8am this morning much like any other lesson.

I did the pre-flight on N73455 and everything looked good with oil at the right level and full tanks.

I started her up and she caught with no problems. I called Ground and got permission to taxi.

We began to taxi and ...ruh roh. I couldn't do a decent left turn even hammering on the left pedal and brake for all it was worth. Neither could the instructor. So, it wasn't just me.

It turns out we had no left brake.

The cylinder was cracked in a non-visible location and there was no brake fluid showing when I did the pre-flight inspection but after we got started to move there was no left brake at all.

So we cancelled the taxi, and brought the plane back to the start position.

The we signed out N755PR, the plane in which I did my intro flight.

Again, we did the pre-flight and I started her up, and after learning how the radios worked on this bird (they're configured differently from N73455) we got permission to taxi.

It may have just been mental, but this bird taxied like a smooth dream.

I called tower and got permission to take off and again, the takeoff was my best ever. I found I was a lot less tense than I had been on previous takeoffs, which certainly helped.

Then, we flew out to the practice area and climbed to 3,500 feet, again all was smooth as silk.

First, we did clearing turns and then did slow flight in the dirty configuration and I had quite a bit of fun doing it, including a turn to the right with the stall horn blaring. I successfully turned a full 180 degrees without losing altitude or causing a stall.

Next we did Power On Stalls.

A power on stall demonstrates the stall that can occur when you goof up on a go around or you take off from the runway with too high an angle of attack, leading to a stall at a very bad time indeed. Sean first demonstrated and noted that the break after such a stall was a lot more pronounced than during a power off stall.

It certainly was. The stall had a very pronounced drop and right wing dip. Recovery is simply getting the nose down to break the stall, leveling the wings, letting the speed build and then back to level flight.

Then it was my turn for doing the power on stall: Clearing turns done, Carb heat on, throttle lowered with the pitch held until takeoff speed is reached, then add power and pull back on the yoke so your feet are at the horizon and hold until you get a stall.

And Stall! Whoah! Feel that drop!

And recover.

We did that a few times and I had it down and Sean said I handled it very well indeed with good recoveries and minimal loss of altitude.

Then on to steep turns. Sean demonstrated 30, 45 and 60 degree steep turns. Then I did 30 and 45 degree turns to both left and right and again I had it nailed with both maintaining altitude and leveling off at the appropriate heading at the end of the turn. For some reason, with Papa Romeo the left steep turn is more difficult than the right steep turn and required a lot more left rudder on the left steep turn and not as much right rudder on the right steep turn which is just about the opposite of every other Cessna 172 out there. Weird but it worked.

After that we headed back to the airport and I handled the radio calls starting 10 miles out. It was starting to get rather traffic-y out there.

After our initial call we were instructed to first contact them when we reached 3 miles, which we did. Then we were instructed to turn wide to the south due to traffic. Then we were cleared in as number 2 to land and I got her lined up on runway 25R as instructed.

Right after I got her lined up on 27R and Sean had taken over for the landing, we got an instruction to quickly shift over to 27L as a helicopter was landing right by 27R. Sean handled it smoother than silk, and I must say it's fun to watch a pro who knows what he's doing and worthy of emulation.

So we got to land in tandem with a helicopter which was fun to watch, and after landing I called ground for taxi permission and took the bird back to the flight school.

That's 1.3 more flying hours in the log.

Sean stated I had nailed that lesson, which is a really great feeling and high praise indeed.

I may need to think about switching to Papa Romeo as my regular training bird, as everything was just on during this lesson. It may be luck. It might be my getting better with flying over time. It may be Papa Romeo. Or, it may be a combo of all three. Any opinions out there as to whether I should switch planes or not?

Next lesson: Introduction to Landings!

Friday, August 28, 2015

And Here's To You, Helicopter Robinson

Oakland County International Airport also has a rotary wing flight school in addition to a few fixed-wing schools at the field.

Many helicopters were on display and giving rides at the Open House.

The helicopter of choice for instruction is the Robinson R22. Over 4,600 R22s have been produced making it a very successful and prolific design.

An economical trainer it's a good first craft for those pilots crazy enough to operate a craft that doesn't actually fly. Instead a helicopter achieves altitude and flies due to two operating principles:

1. Lift is first created by beating the air into submission;

2. Even more lift is created due to their being so ugly the earth rejects and repels them from the ground.

A buddy of mine flies helicopters out of KPTK and is currently working on his helicopter instrument rating, in A Robinson helicopter naturally, so we kid each other just a bit.

Helicopters are both more expensive to learn to fly and to operate, so I'll happily stick with learning to fly a fixed wing aircraft.

Robinson also offers the R44 and quite a few operate out of the helicopter flight schools at KPTK, with 4 seats, for a more comfortable ride and larger payload, and some even have air conditioning for comfort.

Here's on of the Robinson R44s doing a flyby of the Tower:

There was also a Robinson R66 offering rides. It's a turbo-shaft powered helicopter with a Rolls Royce engine, and about as close to a Rolls Royce that most people will get.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Helicopter was on display as well. It's not a Robinson but rather a Eurocopter Astar 350 B2 with all the law enforcement goodies attached:

It was quite the flock of flying Robinson helicopters operating that day, and they're fun to watch flitting around and taking off and landing from up close.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cute Quote Of The Day

It's only 7:52 am and I've already got the cute quote of the day.

Leah, counting the money she's saved up to buy a new Ever After High Dolls (if you don't have girls that will take awhile to explain) realizing she has enough to buy it as it's on sale at a local store for cheaper than at Amazon, but then realizing she has to calculate sales tax on the purchase and add that to her amount, pushing her past her amount saved so she can't buy it now:

Leah in an exasperated voice:

"I thought kids didn't have to pay taxes!"

Welcome to the real world of sales taxes kiddo.

Getting her to count her funds and calculate sales tax (at her own initiative) is a parental trick to get her summer brain to start shifting over to school mode. Learning about taxes similarly is instructive.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fouga! Fouga! Fouga!

The first jet trainer produced in the world, the twin-engined, French-made Fouga CM-170 Magister has served in a training role in 26 countries. First in service in July 1952, served as a trainer and in some cases a close air support aircraft.

A beautiful example of one was at the OCIA Open House.

This Fouga is owned by the World Heritage Air Museum, operating out of OCIA.

I got to talking with the founder of the museum and he gave me a lot of details about the Fouga.

He stated it handles the most fighter-like of all the jets he has at the museum, and it's a great plane to fly with a sweet roll rate and easy acrobatics.

The two seat cockpit is crammed tight but fully functional:

She's a beautiful aircraft indeed.

Now, thanks to Murphy's Law, I heard that Israel is selling off their Fouga Magisters, known in IAF service as the Zukit. They're being sold for $29,900 a piece, which is quite a bargain for such an historic warbird. Think of it - the plane you buy might have flown close air support missions in the Six Day War or may have been the jet in which famous Israeli Aces first learned their craft.

For $29,900 you could get into a cockpit like this:

Hmm, where to get a loan quick?

Then reality set in - the downsides:

1. You need to pay for shipping and disassembly, not to mention reassembly and US FAA certification, which isn't going to be cheap.
2. According to the Museum's founder, the FAA requires that to pilot one you need at least 1,000 hours, so that makes me about 992.8 short. That could take awhile to get there.
3. Also, in speaking with the owner of the Fouga at the show, he noted the operational cost came out to $1,500 per hour. Ouch.
4. He also noted the Israeli Zukits will most likely need new engines as they're at the end of their service lives, which again isn't going to be cheap. He's looking into acquiring one, but with a museum at his back he's got a lot more resources than I do, that's for sure.

Ah, but a neophyte pilot can dream, can't he?

DaddyBear About To Publish Another Neat Novel

DaddyBear of DaddyBear's Den and author of Tales of the Minivandians is going to have a new book coming out soon.

As you can tell by checking out a snippet he's posted on his blog, Via Serica is going to be a great read and well worth forking over some of your reading denarii to get it home to a place in your library, as will the likely sequels that will continue the tale.

Having had the honor of being one of his beta readers, I can say that the snippets he's posted, unlike a movie trailer, are not representative of the best parts of the entire book. They're really good mind you, but there's some even finer scenes in the book that await. You'll have to wait until it comes out to read it to get those. You're going to enjoy it, especially if you like well written historical fiction with a few twists. You're going to enjoy it a lot.

No spoilers will be given here, so you'll just have to buy the book and go read and enjoy it in its entirety when it comes out.

The book features solid storytelling, an excellent eye for detail of the period, good believable dialogue, lots of taunt action, some hilarious asides, and plenty of Romans roamin' around.

Once he's got a preorder link ready to go on Amazon, I'll throw a link to it here.

Update (September 8, 2015): Via Serica is now avaialble for order at Amazon! Sweet.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Flying Lesson #5 - Do Something! It's An Emergency!

It was too windy and gusty to effectively practice power-on stalls, so instead Sean said it was time we did emergency procedures.

We started on the ground with handling engine fires on startup and how to deal with them.

Then I taxied us to the runway, did the takeoff checklist and run up and handled the takeoff. The wind was blowing so hard we gained altitude noticeably faster than normal and then we were in for a bumpy ride.

We experienced updrafts and clear air turbulence, and then started doing in flight emergency actions.

We did engine out procedures which always start with getting the aircraft set for best glide, finding the best possible landing area, and then dealing with the problem, included either trying to do an engine restart if there's sufficient altitude, or if too low to restart then doing an engine out landing.

Lots to learn there and with the ground rushing up quite a few times it was a bit nerve-wracking.

Then we did emergency descents either for a passenger in-flight emergency or to put an on-board fire out.

That was quite a fun elevator ride, but with a bank to prevent negative gees and again the ground rushed up to meet us every time.

In case of an engine fire, you're supposed to set your transponder to squawk 7700 and then start singing the refrain from this song over the radio:

Actually there is a detailed checklist on what to do if there's a fire. In short, you need to cut off its source of fuel, in most cases the aircraft's fuel (or sometimes the electrical system) and the ignition source for the fire and then descend at a good clip to try and get it out.

Then we did radio out procedures, and I had actually read about those before and knew what to do, which made my instructor happy and that was a good thing. It's nice to have some clue, I'll tell you what.

It was a nerve-wracking, white-knuckled lesson. I did get a lot of practice doing climbs, including turning climbs, back to 3,500 after each emergency.

I now need to memorize the emergency checklists and will do so.

In future lessons, we now get to add the possibility that in every flight Sean will declare the engine is out or have him chop the throttle, or there's a fire on board and I'll be expected to handle it.

That was 1.6 hours of serious skull-sweat flying.

Ford's Tin Goose

What's made of corrugated aluminum, has three engines and flies?

It's a Ford Trimotor, formally designated the Ford 5-AT-B.

NC9645, owned by Liberty Aviation Museum out of Port Clinton, Ohio, made quite an appearance at the Oakland County International Open House and Air Show. Built in 1929, she's still flying today.

This aircraft carries the name City of Port Clinton:

This is fitting as there used to be airline service using Ford Trimotor aircraft operating out of Port Clinton's airport, and this one now operates from there today.

If you go to Camp Perry and eat at the Tin Goose bar in Port Clinton during the Nationals, the Ford Trimotor is where that bar got its name.

On Sunday many attendees of the Open House paid to take a ride in a Ford:

Checkout those engine nacelles:

She's a Ford product all right:

The Ford Trimotor was Ford's first successful foray into aircraft production (the other notable success was building Consolidated B-24 Bombers under license at Willow Run airport in Ypsilanti Michigan).

If you think there's a resemblance of the Ford Trimotor to the JU-52, well there is. Ford was successfully sued by Junkers for copying the design and infringing on the patents of the JU52's predecessor aircarft, notably the Fokker F.VII, Junkers G25 and K16.

A very reliable aircraft, 199 Ford Trimotors were produced and served airlines around the world, with a few still flying today.

NC9645, long may she fly like this:


Sunday, August 23, 2015

At The Oakland County Air Show

Oakland County International Airport had their annual open house and air show today.

I took the kids and we had a great time.

There were Jets:

There were helicopters:

There were prop planes:

There were prop planes giving rides, including the Cessna 172 I'm training on, N73455:

There were classics:

There were warbirds:

It was a great time and lots of great pics and aircraft stories to follow.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

There Is No Tinfoil Hat Large Enough . . . .

Thanks to Tam's link to a Zerohedge post, I've fulfilled my quota of viewing displays of human ignorance and stupidity out of court for the day, and this morning I've already fulfilled my viewing of in-court stupidity for the day, so I'm good in both departments.

Great Ghu, the post itself is nucking futz - a sort of smorgasbord of just about every dipstick conspiracy theory about America known to man. The comments accompanying the post then take it past 11 and are, if anything, worse. It's sort of an echo chamber of the perpetually paranoid and delusional.

Some people can function off their meds, and apparently quite a few really can't.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More Treasure From The Sea

An even richer find from the 1715 shipwreck than the one found just recently:

Florida divers find 350 coins worth $4.5M

On July 30 and 31 off the coast of Vero Beach, Brisben, who is captain of the S/V Capitana, and his crew recovered 350 gold coins.

Nine of the coins found are known as Royals and valued at $300,000 apiece; these were specially made for King of Spain Phillip V in the early 1700s.

300 years after the ship sank, it is releasing its golden secrets.

Very cool and enriching finds indeed.

Flamethrowers Give Warren Mayor A Case Of The Flammable Vapors

The knee-jerk desire of people to ban what they do not understand or makes them afraid strikes again.

A couple of companies, including one here in Michigan, advertise the sale of a product, namely a flamethrower, that has been legal for civilians to own since, well, so long as the products have been in existence. The City of Warren's Mayor finds out and gets a case of the flammable vapors and moves to ban them.

The Detroit Free Press: A right to own flamethrowers? Warren mayor wants them banned

Does the mayor have any examples of flamethrower misuse in Warren? Of course not, but better ban them just to be sure.

Curiously enough, and much like a typical gun ban, the proposed legislation exempts:

any officer, employee or member of the Armed Forces, law enforcement, fire department or local, state or federal government who is on duty and acting within the scope of his or her employment.

Well, ok then.

The law as proposed may also be over-broad and include more than what people consider to be flamethrowers. Not that this has stopped anyone before.

And it's not just one mayor alone, Sebastian over at Shall Not Be Questioned points out CNN is also having fits over flamethrowers.

The statist impulse to ban first and only then consider if there's even a problem posed later. Go figure.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy Birthday To Leah

Someone turned 9 today. The last year of single digits.

The morning began, as all birthdays in the house do, with a cherry cheesecake.

Your birthday cannot be a bad day when it starts with cherry cheesecake.

Then Leah got her presents from all of us which she truly enjoyed and appreciated.

Tonight after work I'll be home to grill some meat for a festive dinner to celebrate her birthday, along with fresh picked corn and some veggies.

Flying Lesson #4 - Got Stall?

Today's lesson was all about slow flight.

I decided to take a long lunch and get in a flying lesson.

I checked out the aircraft, did the pre-flight and was happy to find all systems go with full fuel tanks. Someone had left the plane with the control lock off and the avionics switch on, but the master switch was off so it was someone being sloppy. N77345 started right up with no problems.

My taxiing was a lot better than my last lesson, as was my takeoff, and I did all the radio work. Progress!

We then headed over to the practice area and climbed to 3,500 feet.

Then we learned the ABCs of practice maneuvers:

A- Airspace - Do clearing turns to make sure there's no airplane likely to give you grief, make sure you've got sufficient altitude for the maneuver and there's no obstacles around.

B - Best available landing area - if something goes bad, have a place to land already picked out and ready to go.

C- Configuration - get the plane into the right configuration for whatever maneuver you're going to do, check seat-belts, fuel selector, mixture and carb heat.

After some clearing turns, Sean first demonstrated slow flight in both the clean and dirty (meaning flaps out) configurations.

I then gave it a go and did it pretty well. Clearing turns are easy and not a problem to do and then getting into slow flight and pitching and throttling the aircraft back to real slow was pretty neat.

Its a fun feeling to be up there with the stall horn blaring and the plane on an edge of a stall. The ailerons are barely responsive at that speed and it takes a lot of control back pressure to keep the nose up, and more to get the plane to turn, mainly with the rudder.

Then we moved on to power off stalls.

Those were fun, especially the drop at the end of each when the stall broke.

He also demonstrated stalls during turns to simulate what can happen when you screw up turning base to final when you're landing and try to put in a tight banking turn to get lined up on the runway. Think real fast and impressive altitude drop. Note to self: Do not screw up turning base to final.

Then I got to try stalling the aircraft myself.

It took a lot of back pressure to keep the nose up and make the plane stall, and a fair bit of rudder to keep it on course.

Mixture rich, carb heat on, Power out, flaps down, pitch up and hold it and listen to the stall horn blare.

When it did stall, it had a buffet and then made a nice clean break and I then did the recovery by dropping the nose, then applying full power and getting back to level flight and then a climb to recover altitude that was lost in the stall.

I was tending to point the nose too far down during recovery, which, if the stall happened when I was too low would not be good. We worked on it until I got used to just lowering the nose enough to break the stall and get an appropriate angle of attack going, then adding in power and recovering.

After that I got to fly us back to the airport and we had fun with some other traffic that was also coming in at the same time we were. I then taxied us back after landing and that taxi went pretty well too.

That's 1.5 more hours of flight time, or 1.4 hours of flying and .1 of the aircraft stalled and not flying, depending on how you look at these things.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Yellowjacket Wars - Part 1

It seems a swarm of yellow-jackets have had the temerity to build a nest on the side of our house.

Such uninvited squatting without permission, not to mention appearing in numbers any time we sit to eat outside, is both rude and unaceptable.

Chemical warfare was called for.

So today at dusk I sprayed the area they appear to be coming from with Spectracide Wasp and Hornet Killer.

I sprayed the area and every one of the flying trespassers that I saw.

Not sure if it's having much of an effect as there's still quite a swarm buzzing around there, and further treatments may be called for, not to mention figuring out exactly where the nest is and if they've made it into the house.

On the upside, none of the buggers got me and I'm pretty sure I've now accounted for quite a few of them.

The joys of home ownership.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Flying Lesson #3 - Getting Up And Around The Point

Lesson 3 started off a little differently.

Again I did the pre-flight completely on my own, with no test at the end this time. I'm reasonably sure he was still watching me though.

The lesson started off differently as two others piled into the back of the plane.

We were taking an instructor and his student to Troy airport, KVLL, to pickup another plane.

So I did the engine start checklist and got the plane started and ready, Then I handled the radio to call ground to taxi, and then taxied to the run up area and did the take-off checklist. I still need a lot of work on taxiing, but at least I remembered not to try to steer with the wheel this time and just to use the pedals.

I called the tower and we were told to hold, which I acknowledged.

Then we got clearance to enter the runway and did a takeoff to the southeast. It was a pretty decent takeoff if I do say so myself.

I flew us to the airport and Sean talked me through observing it and then entering the pattern, on the downwind, as he did the radio calls for a pilot controlled airport, then he handled the base and final turns and the landing.

We dropped off our passengers and I handled the engine start, taxi and takeoff. I still need work on the taxi, but the takeoff was happily quite smooth and was better than my previous 2 so there's progress.

Then Sean demonstrated how to do a turn around a point and I practiced that and did pretty well.

Then he demonstrated S-turns across a road, or in our case electrical power pylons. This was a fair bit more difficult than going around a point and I'm going to need a lot more work on that, especially in picking out spots and knowing where the wind is coming from.

I certainly got a lot of banking practice in, but need more. You can bank on that.

Then we flew back to the airport and I handled the radios and we ended up getting another straight in approach on runway 27R.

That's 1.8 more hours of flight time.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Flying Lesson #2 - Takeoff, Eh!

Lesson 2 continued the awe and wonder of Lesson 1.

This would be another lesson full of firsts.

We were going to take up N73455.

This time I was sent out to do the pre-flight myself from start to end. I followed the checklist from start to finish. Then Sean came up after observing me from a distance and asked me what I had found.

I noted the left tank read empty on the gauge and had only 5 gallons in it after checking it with the fill stick and the right tank had only 10 gallons.

Apparently I passed the "Are-you-paying-attention-during-a-pre-flight" test. That was a good thing. So as the plane was refueled we talked about the lesson plan for the flight.

Once fuelled, I again checked the fuel sumps for any sign of water in the tanks and visually verified the tanks were full.

I then got to start up the airplane all by myself, following the checklist. That was pretty cool to actually be able to handle the process and see how it really worked after reading about it.

And this time I got to rock the radio.

The first time you're on the radio to the tower it sounds something like this:

Ok, it was not quite that bad.

I got on the radio to listen first to the ATIS and then dialed in the airport ground control, asked to taxi, received clearance and we headed to the runway.

My first radio clearance.

Steering a plane is a bit weird - the wheel, it does nothing.

Instead it's the rudder pedals that control the steering on the ground, which is going to take awhile to get used to and be able to effectively control.

My first taxi.

Then at the run-up area I did the pre-takeoff checklist by myself. After the run-up I radioed the tower that we were ready to go. We got clearance which was first a bit of a mess as they gave us an IFR flight plan for the previous flight of the aircraft which was confusing as hell. But we got it straightened out and we were cleared to take off and depart VFR to the northeast.

My first run-up.

I then taxied us onto the runway 27R, smoothly added full throttle and then rotated and we were up!

My first takeoff.

It was rather bumpy up there today with quite a wind.

After climbing to 3,500 we headed over to a practice area and practiced rectangular courses, with the wind pushing us all over. I learned about crabbing into the wind and bank angles aplenty - it's one thing to read it in the flight manual, and another thing to do it. But I did it and apparently decently enough.

After doing it a few times, Sean indicated we wouldn't do S-turns or turns around a point as the wind was just too much for an introduction to those today.

Sean noted I did a very good job of keeping the plane level even with the wind gusting us all around and was pretty happy with my straight and level flying.

So we did some practice with climbs and descents and trimming for each, and then headed to the airport.

I got to handle the radio and call in our approach. The tower initially wanted us to call them back at 2 miles but when we hit 5 miles called us up and directed us to go straight in and cleared us to land.

I flew us down to 1,500 feet and then Sean took over for the landing.

I then got to call ground after exiting the runway and got us a taxi clearance back and then I got to taxi the plane back to base.

That was Lesson 2, 1.2 flight hours of some very intense concentration and awesome moments.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trial Phase 1 Is Done

The evidence is in, now all that's left is to draft up a brief of proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. While that brief won't win the case for you, you can darn well lose it at this stage. So I have much more work ahead of me.

The case was a real property ownership dispute regarding a strip of land that simply wouldn't be settled due to a variety of factors, namely the other side demanding a ridiculous amount of money to formalize an easement or transfer the property, and their refusal to do some very needed things. No, you can't get Malibu-level real estate prices for a strip of land in Pontiac, Michigan, who knew?

Well, everyone but the other side apparently.

So with mediation a failure due to their intransigence, it was off to trial we went.

Trial began promptly Monday morning.

First we had to deal with a subpoena the opposing side dropped on my clients at 3 pm on Thursday. It was really quite reasonable - only asking for 18 years of business records, tax returns and related items to be produced by Monday at 8:30 am.

I had filed a motion to quash the subpoena on Friday to be heard before the trial. In short, I argued that discovery had closed in the case in September 2014 so this was a tad untimely. It was also harassing to demand our side retrieve and produce 18 years of documents at the drop of a hat. The judge agreed so point one went to me.

Since I represented the Plaintiff I went first and began calling witnesses.

We drew an objection to the admission of a mortgage survey document dated 1983 that showed the land in question that was quite favorable for us.

Defendant's attorney argued it was hearsay and could not be admitted because it was an out-of-court statement and the surveyor in question had died in early 2013 before the case even began, and there was no one to authenticate the document.

No so fast sez I. I point out the numerous exceptions to the hearsay rule that applied to the document including the rule regarding admissibility of ancient documents. This exception allows ancient documents, namely those over 20 years old, so ancient is a relative term, are excepted from the hearsay rule. I lay a foundation that the docuemnt was ordered by the prior owners who were present to testify and transferred at sale in 1998 to the present owners. I also point out a few other pertinent exceptions. The judge agrees with me and ocerules the objectiona nd admits it into evidence. Point two to me.

Overall it goes well until one of my clients on the stand under cross exam starts answering the Defenese counsel and admitting to details and events that had occurred that they had neglected to inform me existed prior to trial. This includes an act they did in 2014 quite some time after they had retained me (after switching attorneys) yet had neglected to mention that had done it.

A quick note to you dear reader. Should you find yourself in need of an attorney whether for a matter criminal or civil, it behooves you to inform them of all facts and events regarding the scenario that you are dealing with. Not only will your attorney be upset with you when they are surprised at trial with fun new facts coming from your mouth, but your case will be badly weakened if we don't know these facts and are ready to explain or otherwise deal with them. Do not worry if you think the facts are embarrassing to you or put you in a bad light. Your attorney must know them in order to represent you and in legal terms much of what you may think embarrassing or bad isn't. However, having it slip out for the first time at trial is both embarrassing and paints you in a bad light and can lose your case for you.

Think of your attorney as your legal doctor - no symptom or fact, no matter how slight or unimportant that you may think it is, should go untold to us so we can properly represent you and prevent the malady from treating you when had we been told about it, we would have done a different treatment and likely been able to win your case.

In short, at least one of my arguments, which had been damn solid up until trial, went on life support after that.

Another one was badly weakened and a third is hanging in there.

I now give it a much less rosy prediction as to a successful outcome due to these lovely surprises.

Some witnesses were great, some not so great, but all of mine were certainly honest which sometimes produced less than perfect testimony but you have to deal with the facts as they are, not how you might wish them to be which is how it ought to be.

The defense only called one witness who was pretty clearly bending some facts and sure seemed to be making them up and contradicting not just my clients but all the other witnesses. This will prove helpful. I also caught her in a statement she had made that X would not happen when she actually had a set of pictures, complete with her handwriting on the back, showing X happening. I did rather enjoy that.

The judge handling the case did so with grace, civility, focus, and definite courtroom control. You knew that she had read the trial briefs, paid attention throughout the trial, asked good questions of the witnesses, and made fair rulings throughout. You can't ask for better than that.

So, after tons of trial preparation, dealing with objections from opposing counsel, hyper-focus and attention during witness testimony, and dealing with fun surprises during the trial, I'm pretty darn wiped.

Now on to the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of law.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Happy Birthday To Me, Now Off To A Match

This birthday starts with a cherry cheesecake as is traditional around here.

That's because a birthday is always better with cherry cheesecake.

Since I've just turned 43 this morning so I'm in the forties, I'm off to shoot a .40 cal in a USPSA match, shooting limited.

Then it's back home and then off to the office this afternoon to put the final touches on preparation for a trial I'm doing starting Monday at 8:30.

Blogging will be very light for a few days.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Kids, Giving Adults Grey Hairs Since Time Immemorial

Got a few new grey hairs around the temples this evening.

Abby had decided her room needed a remodeling and went about clearing out accumulated junk (good), dumping stuff she didn't want on her younger sister by dumping a pile of stuff in Leah's room (not so good) and then moving the furniture around by herself while I was making dinner. And that's where the story begins,

With a bang.

The bang was followed by Leah running to the kitchen saying "Abby's big toe is turning blue".

And so it was.

She had dropped the top of her Ikea desk right on it. She had forgotten that it was only resting and not attached to the file cabinet on the one side, so it slid off and dropped right onto her big toe as she went to move it.

Impressively she wasn't crying. The size her toe then immediately swelled to was also impressive. When she couldn't move it from an upward angle there was some serious concern.

So after applying ice and realizing it wasn't helping her regain mobility of the toe and the swelling was still bad and it was starting to hurt worse, I piled them in the car and headed to the local urgent care.

The doc checked it out, and decided some x-rays were warranted. Luckily nothing was appearing obviously broken on the results but there's still a chance of a hairline fracture so a radiologist is going to confirm the diagnosis. For now we've got her toes taped together and she's getting ibuprofen, elevation and ice. Thankfully it appears to be nothing serious.

We were darn lucky this time that it wasn't any worse.

Update: The radiologist confirmed no fractures and she's back to 100%. Good news all around.

SIGnificant Muzzling

On my way to do something, I was behind this gentleman, who was busy talking to another fellow on the sidewalk as we went from the parking lot to the building.

Unfortunately the picture isn't great, but that's the business end of a SIG 226 pointing back at me from his shoulder holster. It looked bigger in person.

This is why cover garments over shoulder holsters are appropriate for providing some concealment rather than not having one on, and it illustrates an issue with most types of shoulder holsters - you're pointing a firearm at anyone behind you whether you know they're there or not.

On entry to the place I was going, I went one way as he and his friend went another, and the badge around his neck made it easy to see he was a law enforcement officer of some sort.

Not a huge deal but certainly a very public display of a firearm that's rather atypical around here as most officers and civilian open carriers I've seen are outside the waistband carry types.

It was an interesting illustration of the muzzle direction issue posed by shoulder holsters.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Zulu Time

Aviators speak their own dialect of English.

When learning to fly you learn a variety of new concepts and terms.

One of them is Zulu time.

This is not what they mean by Zulu time:

Ok, it's not what they mean by Zulu time for aviation purposes anyways.

Zulu time is based on Greenwich Mean Time and uses a 24-hour system of time notation. "1:00 a.m." is expressed as 0100, pronounced "zero one hundred", alternatively pronounced as "Oh my god it's early". The time one minute after 0159 is 0200. The time one minute after 1259 is 1300 (pronounced "thirteen hundred"). This continues until 2359. One minute later is 0000 ("zero hundred"), and the start of a new day.

Zulu time is now also commonly called Universal Time Co-ordinated or UTC in order to prevent the deployment of Martini-Henrys during flight planning operations.

Monday, August 03, 2015

First Flight Lesson AFR

So this morning I headed over to Flight 101 for my first lesson. The clouds were looking pretty low and overcast so I was worried it was going to be a washout.

I met up with my instructor, Sean and after some paperwork we headed to the plane. By this time the clouds had become scattered instead of overcast so the flight was now a do-able proposition.

We went over how to do a pre-flight and following the checklist he demonstrated and then I did each step.

During pre-flight you follow the checklist and go over the entire aircraft to make sure all is in working order. Far better to find out if there is a problem on the ground rather than in the air. We checked all the control surfaces, inspected the fuel to make sure it was free of contaminants, the fuel quantity, and the overall condition of the entire aircraft.

There was indeed a problem we found during the pre-flight.

The nose-wheel strut was way too low and the airplane actually had a downward angle.

So to another plane we went, Papa Romeo, the same plane I did my intro flight in.

Papa Romeo unfortunately was also having some known issues and most likely was going to pose a problem, but we decided to try it as the other 172s were already signed out. The problem was N755PR was not starting period, even with a charger cart so it was off to door number three, and Papa Romeo ended up getting taken in to the mechanics.

So we went and tried door number three:

Third time was the charm and I had my first lesson - in a complex aircraft no less - a Cessna 172 RG. The RG stands for retractable gear. I didn't do any of the complex parts, Sean handled the prop control and the gear.

Sean handled the radios, did the takeoff and we were up!

He flew us out to the practice area. We went up to around 3500 feet and avoided the many and wispy stratus clouds. We had a bit of turbulence but nothing serious.

My first lesson consisted of learning straight and level flight, banks to both left and right, climbs and descents, and trimming the aircraft for climbs, descents and straight and level flight. Sean said I was quite smooth and did quite well. He also said I did a good job of regularly looking outside the aircraft and doing clearing turns before any maneuvers.

The first lesson was a lot of fun. The standard bank angle feels a lot more banked than standard but once you're doing it yourself, it feels pretty normal.

It was a great first lesson and I can't wait for lesson #2.

It's Time.

Wish me luck, and I'll be back with an AAR of Lesson #1

Saturday, August 01, 2015

A Lion And Geese, Oh My!

Some people tend to be conveniently and easily distracted and prone to outrage.

The Cecil the Lion incident has not only whipped up some SJW outrage as well as death threats, but conveniently drove all sorts of important news stories that actually affect people and the world right out of the headlines.

Indeed the attention paid to the death of one lion may lead to a whole new Zebra protest movement:

After all, #BlackAndWhiteLivesMatter.

Not to be outdone by the display of national outrage over the death of a lion thousands of miles away, the Detroit Papers are now full of outrage over the killing of some geese.

Yes, the killing of 4 common geese and the injury of 2 more in a roadway incident by an as yet unknown motorist, in an act that may have been intentional or simply accidental, out in Mount Clemens has filled the headlines:

The Detroit Free Press: Did driver purposely run over geese in Clinton Township?

The Detroit News: Geese find new homes after several killed by motorist

Note that now some of the Macomb County Sheriff's best detectives are on the case to find a motorist that ran over geese blocking a road. I'm glad crime in the Clem must be at an all time low. Misbegotten outrage does tend to lead to a mis-allocation of resources.

It's a sad commentary on the state of media today. Considering their focus on trivialities, to the media the world situation may be desperate but it's not serious.

Oh, and another thing: Heh.