Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Last Hour Of 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, it's been quite a year.

We lost a lot of people of note and entertainment greats this year, a sure sign the baby boomers are getting older.

We had one of the bitterest and drawn out presidential elections so far, with Democrats still not getting through the five stages of grief to this day. Hopefully Trump lives up to the hype and expectations of him.

Personally, its been an interesting year, with some losses, some gains, lots of experiences both good and bad, and lots of family events and watching the kids grow into the awesome young ladies they are.

May 2017 be even better for us and for all of you and yours.

The Dog Playing Cards

To while away some time yesterday before Abby's friend was picked up, we played Rukus.

It's a fun family game that the kids enjoyed playing quite a bit. I think they modified the rules a bit and made it an even more hectic game, complete with delighted shouts of "Ruckus!". We spent quite some time shuffling cards, playing cards, and quickly discarding cards to get to the winner of each hand with much giggling and shouting and the occasional groan when the cards didn't go the way someone wanted them.

Jett decided he wanted to play too, and he collected the most cards while he doggedly imitated a card table:

A very laid back family-friendly dog indeed.

Friday, December 30, 2016

So About All That Russian Hacking Evidence....

The FBI/DHS and Obama administration are touting evidence that the Russians were behind the DNC email leak.

But, a professional anti-hacking group looking at the evidence provided is far from convinced: Wordfence: US Govt Data Shows Russia Used Outdated Ukrainian PHP Malware

In short, the professionals are of the opinion that the odds that the Russians were using outdated Ukrainian designed malware from sites outside of Russia and mainly in the US is rather remote and this is pretty darn weak tea for proof that the Russians hacked the DNC and were responsible for the leak of the emails.

I realize the Democrats are pissed that their and John Posdesta's security awareness in particular was so piss-poor that their email showing their rather bad acts was leaked to the world and hurt them badly at election time. I understand that they need to deflect from their failings and the content of the emails with this bit of kabuki theater to make it the big bad Russians responsible for the leak rather than their own stupidity, but come up with better evidence than this before you cause a diplomatic incident, ok?

Jett's First Trip To TO

We're spending The New Year in Toronto with family. 

Abby had her best friend from New York over with us in Michigan for the past 5 days and we took her with us to Toronto to meet up with her folks and transfer her back to her parents.  They had a great time together and they're great kids.

This was also Jett's first international trip and he had his first border crossing in the back of the SUV and he enjoyed the trip albeit being rather tightly squished in along with the rest of us - five people, one dog and luggage made for a tight fit.  He traveled like a champ and had a good time.

Jett on his first walk around Toronto found this sign rather offensive:

Why U No Like Jets?
Basically the No Jets TO group is your typical Baptist and Bootlegger coalition in action - developers would love to get their hands on Toronto Island Airport, but to keep it viable, Porter Airlines is proposing having some rather quiet commuter jets operate from the airport, which is not SWPL.  So, the developers and BANANA types are conjuring up the false image of big loud bad jets disturbing people's property values.  Basic nonsense, but it may prove to be effective which would be bad as once I get my private pilots license,  flights to CYTZ will be a given.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Flying Lesson #95 - The Serious Pre-Checkride Program

By the act of simply scheduling a solo I can make the weather absolutely sucky. Two cancelled days in sequence where I had booked to fly solo on Saturday and with Monday having been scratched due to thick fog, rain, wind, and a Low IFR overcast layer all at once it was time for a dual lesson with Bob the new instructor. Ray is now no longer a part of the picture, possibly more on that later.

I get to the airport and before even checking over the plane, Bob pulls me in for a preflight brief as to what were going to do - a serious pre-checkride flight where he'll call the maneuvers, I'll do them and then he'll go over them if they need something pointed out to improve them. This sounds good.

So I preflight the plane and N73455 is ready to go. We get a bit of a lowish overcast around 2,500 that slowly works its way upwards as the flight progresses.

I do a nice takeoff and we start heading northeast, with a slight delay as the tower has us stop our authorized turn and to fly north for a bit for separation from another flight.

We get out to the practice area and we start with slow flight. I'm a little ham-fisted and while my procedure is perfect I lose more than 100 feet of altitude while setting up for it, so we go over it again and I get it right.

Then we move on to a power off stall and again good procedure but I lose a bit more altitude than I should during setup but then get it done right after he shows me a bit more of the finesse that should go with it and the recovery.

Then we do a power on stall, which I haven't done in a long, long time, and I do it perfectly.

Then we turn to turns around a point, which again I haven't done in a long while but once I settle down I do a very nice one and he's quite happy with it.

Then on to one of my personal hang-ups, the S-turn across a road, and amazingly enough I just did it and did it pretty darn well.

Then on to an engine-out emergency landing which I flub again due to lack of practice, and we go over it, he demonstrates it, and then I do it and do a good job of it but it still needs practice though.

Then we head back to Pontiac and we initially get a base call at 2 miles, but before we hit that they have us extend for traffic and then clear us to come in and I do a perfect, and I mean perfect, approach and cross-wind landing all on my own.

After the flight we have a debrief and he says my flying is good and my procedures are good, but I need to look outside the plane more and there's just a bit of polishing to do on those maneuvers, and he expects that we will work on those and get this done and get me ready for the checkride.

That's 1.4 and one darn nice landing.

Monday, December 26, 2016

This Latest European Idea Makes The Children's Crusade Seem Like An Act of Strategic Brilliance

Breitbart: European Lefties Plan to March on ISIS While Waving White Flags

Someone tell me this is a bit of satire gone off, but it seems to actually be real.

Of course, it's going to end in tears as these Euro-idealists with zero real-world experience encounter reality head-on, assuming they even get past a couple initial steps or deal with the logistics of the task. Verily the idealistic organizer of this insanity expects the march to be well received:

But she was unconcerned about the prospect of being bombed, saying: “People like me think that if five or ten thousand people are marching and getting everyone’s attention, then it’s impossible that they would bomb you,” she said.

Yeah, keep thinking those happy thoughts there sunshine - the civil war in Syria has killed Hundreds of Thousands. Your few thousand empty-headed marchers would be a rounding error to the combatants at most and a tasty snack on arrival to ISIS at the very least.

It seems that at least on a subconscious level she understands the insanity of the idea:

The precise route the march will take is yet to be finalised, but the group will leave Germany via the Czech Republic, then head through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey before finally entering Syria.

Lawyers in each of the countries en route are preparing paperwork to ease the crossing of borders along the way. “If no-one will stop us, we will go all the way,” Alboth said.

That sounds an awful lot like this:

My bet is they'll be blocked from their journey and turned around by the first European government that bans assisted suicide along the route. Once that occurs they'll declare they've sufficiently raised awareness and declare a moral victory because of their good intentions and go home.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Volunteering Today At Forgotten Harvest

For Christmas morning we had signed us to volunteer through our synagogue to deliver meals for Forgotten Harvest to bring Christmas meals to the less fortunate and shut ins in the area. We delivered 32 meals and Christmas gifts to people who couldn't get out themselves this year. So we delivered meals to the disabled and elderly in the area, and wished them all a Merry Christmas. It was a good way to spend Christmas morning.

Then we went to celebrate the Jewish holiday that always coincides with Christmas Day: Yom Dim Sum.

Yes, we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Tradition, ya know?

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

Yesterday we cleaned the house and then went to the movies - I to see Rogue One and Tash and the kids to watch Sing. Rogue One was pretty darn good and I'll not post any spoilers, and watching it in 3D in a practically empty theater was just about a perfect way to see it.

Then, for the first night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve we went to a friends house for a dinner party.

One of the guests made these two cakes from scratch:

Rather impressive and very festive.

So we lit the Menorah, had drinks a festive meal and good times with all who were there.

Once home, we gave presents for the first night of Hanukkah to the kids and then the kids went off to bed.

So a very Merry Christmas to all of my Christian friends and readers, and a very Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish ones.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sorry About The Weather This Morning In Oakland County

So we have icing occurring last night as the temperatures fell, and today the streets are sheets of ice and it is misty with the ceiling a solid overcast at 900 feet.

Sorry, my fault, I had booked a solo flight for this morning.

Expect the weather to clear now that the solo flight has been cancelled due to IFR conditions.

Friday, December 23, 2016

And Obama Gives The Back Of His Hand To Israel As A Hanukkah Present

Legal Insurrection: UN Security Council Passes Anti-Israel Resolution, U.S. Abstains

Nice - instead of vetoing a pernicious, counterfactual, and one-sided resolution against Israel, the Obama Administration abstained, allowing it to pass.

More than just declaring"settlement" illegal, the way it is drafted would make Israeli control of the Jewish Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem and any territory retaken after 1949 illegal as well. In short it's a one-sided anti-Israel resolution that normally would not have passed as the US, as an honest broker would have vetoed it.

Instead, Obama now that the election is over, decided to get back at Netanyahu and screw Israel.

January 20, 2017 and the end of this reign of error can't come soon enough.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Muslimas Who Cried "Trump"

In this age of progressive hate and rage, we have the specter of a plethora of fake and staged "hate crimes" against muslims:

In Lousisiana: HotAir: Police: Reported crime against woman in Muslim headscarf was a hoax

A young Muslim woman claimed she was attacked and robbed of her headscarf and wallet by two men, one of whom wore a Trump hat, but police are now saying it was a hoax. The attack supposedly took place in Louisiana where the woman is a student.

In New York: NY Post: De Blasio says he’s ‘really angry’ about Muslim teen’s attack tale

Seweid, 18, of North New Hyde Park in Nassau County on Long Island, admitted to cops Wednesday that she’d made up a story of being accosted on a subway on Dec. 1 by three white drunks who called her a terrorist, taunted, “Donald Trump!” and tried to pull off her headscarf.

The Baruch College business major told cops she’d actually been out drinking with friends and lied about the attack to distract her strict Islamic father, who’d been furious over her being out late, sources told The Post.

In Ann Arbor: The Detroit News: Police: Woman who was told to remove hijab was lying

A University of Michigan student whose story was reported worldwide was not telling the truth when she told police she was threatened by a man who told her to remove her hijab and could now face felony charges for filing a false report, Ann Arbor police said Wednesday.

The woman told police that the man would set her on fire with a lighter if she did not remove her hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women, so she complied then fled the area of East William near State Street. Her story appeared in global publications last month couched as a hate crime following the win of President-elect Donald Trump.

But her report did not add up after Ann Arbor and UM police and the FBI interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed video surveillance in the area of the alleged incident, said Detective Sgt. Matthew Lige of the Ann Arbor Police Department.

“This crime never happened,” Lige said.

Note that all of these false reports received very favorable and uncritical initial press treatment as this fit the media and Democrats' narrative far too well: All those evil Trump-supporting, cousin-humping haters were going out committing hate crimes in the wake of his winning. Apparently not so much as so many of these supposed hate crimes keep coming up as either false, staged, or by Muslims and directed at other groups while trying to sell it as a Trump supporter's acts.

If it weren't for fake hate crimes against and perpetrated by Muslims, there might very well be damn few hate crimes against them at all. False reports in the wake of Trump's victory certainly seem to be skyrocketing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Flying Lesson #94 - Short Fields With A New Instructor

For lunch I dropped by Flight 101 for a lesson. I had it scheduled with Ray as going to Crosswinds during the week is pretty much out and I still have money on my account there I want to burn through.

It turns out that Ray isn't there and I've got a new instructor for the day, Bob. This is a bit surprising as its an unannounced change.

New to Flight 101 but with 2,000 hours to his log book, while he's another younger fellow, but he's been instructing at another school and just started two days ago with Flight 101. So we head out to the plane and I get it preflighted while he scrapes off a good layer of frost from it. So we talk about where I am in the process and what I feel I need to improve on, then he has me start it up and we head out to the runway. And I handle the entire process.

First takeoff he wants me to hold it in ground effect as the speed builds up just in case there's any frost left on it causing problems and we get a good takeoff in.

Performance in the cold air is excellent and I'm hitting pattern altitude while turning crosswind from upwind. Then he has me do a couple regular landings which were decent with a bit of fun thrown in from the tower - first having us do an extended downwind after I've already start to turn base, which throws things off a bit. On the next landing on quite short final they have me sidestep to 27L as they've just had a plane cleared to takeoff from 27R after clearing me to land and I'm approaching with a plane in front of my windshield and I'm preparing to do a go round before they call for the sidestep. So I sidestep and land just fine on 27L. Overall not my best two landings but not bad and I did them all by my happy self.

Then we move on to short fields. Bob has me try one first and then we analyze and go over what needs to be worked on. While the setup and landing wasn't bad s far as landings go, it wasn't within standards for a short field and I was a tad too high and fast on final and as usual my aiming point was not right.

Bob demonstrates one and then I do some more and get better with each one. He has a different approach to it and it helps quite a bit in terms of focus on the aiming point and how to do the landing by setting the trim to set the pitch and feel to exactly make it all just so that when you think you need to push you just reduce power and when you think you would need to pull on the yoke you would add power without changing the pitch attitude to keep the airspeed locked in.

This was extremely helpful.

My final two short fields, I'm on target and stopped on 27R before taxiway Whiskey and able to turn off on it to turn back to the numbers and takeoff again.

By the end of the lesson I've got this pretty much down and have a ton more confidence in my short fields and can actually do them.

He also has me do a short field takeoff that I ace (my short field takeoffs have always been good), even though the runway is a tad slick and the right brake is feeling kinda soft while holding the plane in place at full power.

Maybe a different perspective is all that is needed and we can get this thing done finally.

That's 8 landings and 1.5.

Monday, December 19, 2016

That's It! Three Strikes And She's Out!

First Strike: Losing the election.

Second Strike: Losing the recount led by her cats-paw Jill Stein, wiht the recount actually revealing Democrat-led fraud in Detroit and elsewhere (Ironic that a claim of fraud revealed fraud by those who claimed it was occurring, neh?).

Third Strike: Electoral College confirms Trump in face of Democrat pressure to overturn the election (Yes the same electoral college Democrats were complaining about in 1 above the Democrats were then trying by hook or by crook to use to overthrow the election - ironic, isn't it?).

Indeed, the Democrats last stand in Michigan to stop the electors voting for Trump was solidly crushed by reality.

Perhaps the Dems can now move on to the next stage of grief - depression, followed by acceptance as their rather epic episodes of denial, anger, and bargaining (if you call threats of violence bargaining) certainly haven't gotten them anywhere.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Miscellaneous Day

Woke up and did the driveway yet again as another thin layer of global warming fell upon it overnight, requiring cleaning to make it passable. On the upside its a good workout and now that the yellow ball in the sky has finally deigned to visit, the remainder of the snow has melted off, hurried along by a decent application of ice melter making my driveway now both passable.

Next I headed off to teach the legal portion of another NRA Instructor's CPL class. A good class of six serious students and they listened well, asked good questions and enjoyed the presentation and are now briefed on Michigan's CPL and deadly force laws, which is good.

Then it was home repair time. The water feed tube for the humidifier had snapped in half when I went to change the filter. The tube, being semi-flexible plastic, broke as the filter was being put back in, which was pretty annoying as it broke under almost no pressure. A replacement was ordered via Amazon and I changed it out with a new tube assembly including the brass nut and plastic lock washer. Now it works with no leaks (so far nayways) and we'll no longer be giving off static shocks soon. Overall, not as bad a repair as I feared.

Lots of little things getting done today.

I think i'll do a little dry-firing to celebrate the lack of leaks before we head out to a family holiday party this evening.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Not Flying Lesson

Last night with the snow coming down the TAF for Pontiac was predicting lousy weather for this morning - snow, rain, low viz so i halfway expected the lesson to be cancelled.

After clearing off the Driveway of Doom™ and putting Jett back in the house and drying him off I headed to Pontiac for a scheduled flight with Ray as the weather had cleared at least enough for some pattern work. My clearing of the driveway was clearly merited and I made it down without incident. However, to say the roads were terrible would be an understatement, many looked like they had not been cleared at all and I was driving in ruts.

So it took awhile to get to KPTK and when I got there I saw this:

It's kinda snowed in and the taxiways are not yet cleared.

Worse, on closer inspection under the snow was:

A pretty solid layer of ice on the windscreen, wing, and horizontal stabilizer which means no flying for you.

We then were able to tow N73455 and N757MK into the hanger, where they should have been overnight really but for various reasons were not. Once in the hanger they defrosted nicely but not in time for my lesson and that student owes me a beer for the prep work.

At this point I'm kinda stymied - it would have easily taken at least 2 hours to just get to Crosswinds today given the roads and the weather made any planning for such a flight rather iffy anyways - driving 2 hours there and 2 back if a flight is cancelled will suck mightily, but Flight 101 is screwing the pooch here nicely as well. Then again, even if they had the plane in the hanger getitng it to the runway would have been iffy considering the taxiways were not cleared yet so it may have just not been my day to go flying. On the upside I did save money by not flying... I have a solo flight set for next weekend and we'll see what the weather brings.

Jett. In The Snow. On The Driveway.

After another snowfall that went all through the night, I awoke and after a coffee commenced to clear the Driveway of Doom™.

Jett wanted to come out with me so he gallavanted about on the driveway, barking ferociously at the snowblower and daring it to try and catch him.

As you can see, there's a fair bit of snow about. He had fun racing about, digging through the snow and barking away as I cleared the driveway to standard and then I headed off to a flight lesson that was not to end up involving flying.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Michigan Court Of Appeals Decision Hammers Legal Open Carriers

The Court of Appeals decision in Michigan Gun Owners v Ann Arbor Public Schools upheld the Ann Arbor Public School's position that it can prohibit people from carrying firearms even as state law specifically states people with concealed carry permits may open carry (only no concealed carry with the concealed carry permit mind you) in schools.

The Michigan Court of Appeals, without any irony whatsoever, was able to declare it the law inapplicable as they determined, with a straight face no less, that a local school district was not a local unit of government, unlike a library district in a previous case which had been found to be a local unit of government. This of course is an awfully outcome-determinative decision considering all those elections for school boards, and the rules and regulations they promulgate, not to mention the public funding for them.

The Court also determined, likely with a nod and a wink, that the law exhaustively allowing such did not specifically and entirely preempt the field of firearms regulation prohibiting the school district from banning carry in compliance with state law.

We'll see if this gets appealed to the State's Supreme Court as the Supreme Court tends to be less anti-gun than our Court of Appeals.

Or better yet, would the Republicans please send another bill to Snyder to get rid of the no carry zones and amend the law to say pistols may be carried concealed with a concealed permit in schools rather than the current stupid mix of only being able to carry openly with a concealed permit in schools and other listed places? That would likely get rid of the pearl-clutching craziness as if the Lefties don't see the pistols they won't be alarmed by it, and there won't be people out trolling and trying to cause them to become so alarmed so that we get to this situation in the first place.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Is Really Here

So I get home at 6:40 tonight after a long day at work and find out the road in front of my house has turned into a solid sheet of ice.

Since it's dark, that's not readily apparent until I slide right past my house. So I'm able to stop, back up and then get up my driveway which is still wonderfully clean, an interesting contrast in the difference between private and public property that.

Just got back from walking the dog in this sudden cold snap. At 10 degrees F with a real feel of -1F, it felt pretty darn cold. It was cold enough that the beer Casey gave me from his fridge tasted warm by comparison as we stood out there and watched the dogs play. Shorts The Double Magician is a red double London style ale which is rather tasty and probably the best Shorts product I've quaffed yet.

Meanwhile, as we were being warmed by the fridge-cold beer, Jett had figured out how to make Rocky actively play with him - he made sure to go stand right near Casey and bark which causes Rocky to charge at him to "protect" his owner. This worked very well the whole time to make sure Rocky's attention was on Jett so they could get some good running and wrestling in.

So the dogs having played themselves out, I've returned to the warmth of home to check in for the night and prepare for court tomorrow.

Winter has truly dropped in with a vengeance after giving us a darn pleasant November and early December, with absolutely no build up. One day it was feeling like autumn, the next it was 12 inches of snow followed by freezing cold. A little global warming to melt this ice rink where a road once stood would not go unappreciated..

Monday, December 12, 2016

Snow Far The Roads Are Snow Good

With about 12 inches of snow falling from yesterday through this morning, schools are closed throughout the region.

This seems less due to the conditions of the roads, which really weren't all that bad this morning, but more of a strategic call to get as many people off the roads as possible after the first major snowfall.

This likely led to a decline in a ton of accidents and stupidity, avoiding a repeat of much of what we saw driving home last night.

It takes people awhile to realize that their necessary stopping distance just significantly increased from what they're used to, and that their happy zippy sports cars don't have the traction in this snow they need and they will get stuck nicely, typically in the middle of an intersection. They also don't realize that the laws of physics really apply when you make a turn at speed on a slippery surface.

Traffic was markedly diminished this morning from the usual Monday mess as I headed to court.

Here's the same scene last night now in the light of day as I cleared off the Driveway of Doom™ yet again for those of you who want to see some more snow:

Having made the driveway very clean I can happily report I had no issues navigating it down, and then making my way on the roads to court and then the office.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Of Snow Pics And Horses

The snow continues to fall and it's been doing so without pause all day.

I'd say we've cleared 9 inches and they figure it will be at least 12 by morning.

I've had to clear the driveway three times today so Tash could get to and from work and so we could return from an important event.

The event was for Leah.  She had her first Horse Schooling Show where she competed in judged events and demonstrated what she's learned having started horse riding at the stable in September.

She did very well indeed:

A first place in overall equitation for her level, and third in pole pile equitation.

She rode her favorite horse at the stable, Chief, an Appaloosa of excellent temperament and enthusiasm. 

 After her great results from all her hard work, we went out for a bite then came home and I cleared off the Driveway of Doom yet again and we got the car into the garage. This was more complicated due to the plow leaving one heckuva snow berm at the entry to the driveway. I got a good workout in today.

As requested, here's a shot of the snow as it currently lies.

The things I'll happily do for my readers.... Stay tuned for more exciting snow clearing news and reports of my aching muscles to follow.

First Snowstorm Of 2016 Hits Michigan

This should be a good one, they're predicting up to 10 inches and I'd say a couple have already fallen. We were lucky avoiding any serious snowfalls up until now.

I've already cleared the driveway once so Tash could get to where she needed to go this morning and less than 45 minutes later it will need it again.

French toast making supplies are already laid in, the house is toasty warm and Jett is enjoying the snow.

On the downside, the feeder tube on the furnace humidifier actually snapped in half while changing the filter so there's that new pain in the home maintenance for me. Other than that, it's all good. Kids are hoping for a snow day tomorrow and I have to be in court bright and early tomorrow so the commute is going to be interesting.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Flying Lesson #93 - Crosswinds in The Cold

A rather large weather system is heading for Michigan and it seemed that everyone wanted to go flying this morning.

I was flying with Ray and first I preflighted N757Mk as it has decent cabin heat. Pre-flighting in the winter is a cold experience. Unfortunately after all that, 757Mk it would not start so me switched over N73455 and I did the preflight on it as well. I like N73455 more anyways even though its cabin heat is about non-existent. During the flight we actually were able to make it snow in the cabin as it cooled our breath to the dewpoint.

There were six planes in the run up area and KPTk switched to dual towers. Since most were going to stay in the pattern we decided we would not do so and headed to Romeo. The cloud cover was low at about 2,600 so we stayed under it at 2,000 and picked up a little ice on the way to Romeo but not very much. The winds were gusting quite a bit with a crosswind so Ray did the first landing and figured it would be challenging but good for me so I did the next two and he liked my landings and thinks I'm doing quite well. I certainly felt a lot more confident and did very nice crosswind landings if I say so myself. Then we headed back to KPTK and started picking up a fair bit more ice that was vidsible on the tires. It was more than we would like so we did the final landing without flaps just in case some had accumulated on the wings.

That's 1.2 and 4 more landings.

I need to schedule a lesson over at Howell and start getting all this stuff figured out.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Recount Chaos Stumbles In Michigan's Blue Zones.

Funnily enough there seem to be a number of severe irregularities in Michigan's highly Blue areas - Detroit, Flint and Lansing that may prevent a lot of ballots being recounted due to "problems".

Problems like Poll Books not matching the number of ballots cast. I.E. an indication of a high potential for ballot stuffing with more ballots than those that were shown to be issued by the books. Problems like a hole in a "sealed" ballot box in Lansing. Par for the course in these areas.

The Detroit News: Half of Detroit votes may be ineligible for recount

Funny how these irregularities crop up so regularly in Democrat strongholds - the very same ones that handily delay getting their totals in until late in the game so they can "adjust" as needed, eh?

Whether Stein's game is to delay the confirmation of Michigan's totals as to put the state's 16 electoral votes in jeopardy, or just done to threaten Trump's legitimacy at the outset, or whether this is just a fundraising stunt is open to question. Even if the recount doubles Stein's votes received she and the Greens would go from all of 1% to 2% - which just won't carry the state for her.

Either way the State and people of Michigan are going to bear a large amount of the cost for her tilting at windmills, but the Left does so enjoy spending other people's money.

Monday, December 05, 2016

The Movie That Would Have Kicked Off Clinton's Gun Control Push Is Released With A Whimper

There's a movie trailer popping up on Facebook and getting an awful lot of play for a movie now being only released to select theaters but is no longer relevant after flopping on its opening weekend US release making all of $59,797 which is one helluva flop by any description. It looks like the producers were banking on Hillary Clinton to have won the election and release this with a bang. Had Hillary Clinton actually won the election the release timing would have been dead on, but now it seems to be dead on arrival.

Miss Sloan, a not even thinly veiled portrayal of "Nasty Woman Takes On The Gun Lobby Troglodytes To Get More Gun Control In America" is every but the hit piece you think it would be. Yes, the words "Nasty Woman" even flash by in the trailer and the whole thing was pretty clearly produced to help a push for gun control on the assumption that Hillary Clinton would have won the election.

Unsurprisingly, the Facebook based trailer leads off with the false statement that "Any nutcase can buy an assault rifle at the Bowlarama without an ID", and it goes downhill from there.

If you think it's a coincidence that Miss Sloan was timed to be released now and its trailer features a fearless female lobbyist taking on the "gun lobby" with a catchphrase of "Nasty Woman", think again.

This was pretty clearly designed to be released under the assumption that Hillary would be elected and free to push for more gun control.

As a result, this political emotive hit piece of gun control propaganda masquerading as a movie is now only being "released to selected theaters". In other words, it's a propaganda piece that lost the leader it was written for and will likely fade out as a result, which is a darn good thing. On the upside for the film it's about to be released in France and will likely do well there amongst the chattering classes and perhaps will even bust its US opening weekend gross of $59,797.

Such a pity they just don't get that Americans really aren't interested in gun control hit pieces to aid a political candidate masquerading as a movie.

Undoubtedly, there would have been a full court press for gun bans had Hillary been elected with the media, entertainment industry, and the Clinton administration relentlessly pushing for it and we've dodged that particular scenario.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Bright Idea - A Pack Of Lights

As days get shorter, dog walking gets colder and people drive even stupider it was time to get a better flashlight for walking the dog and other duties. The cheapy ones I was using were the multi tiny LED type with the 3 AAA battery insert and were only good for letting a car know you're there but not enough to actually see what you're doing. It was free, but still.

So on Black Friday I decided to take a chance and ordered from Amazon the Goldenguy 5 Pack Mini Cree Q5 LED Flashlight Torch 7w 350lm Adjustable Focus Zoomable Light (Black). For the price, which then was $13 and even now is still very good at $18 for a five pack of lights, I figured it would be worth the risk.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received them to find that every single one of them worked.

As an upgrade its impressive - 350 lumen and with a single AA battery its single rectangular Cree LED throws and impressive amount of light. Excellent visibility in the dark, the focussable light can be broadened into a round beam or tightened into the square focused ray of light to really punch through the darkness. The strobe function is pretty good to let cars with their highbeams on blinding you know that you're there and get their attention away from their cell phones.

The case is rather a heavy duty feeling aluminum and has the weapon-light style frame with push button on the rear and an rectangular instep on the tube for holding it in a fist for illumination, or punching with it should such a thing be needed and the bezel has a few sharp points for such a use.

For $2.60 (now $3.60) a light they're practically disposable for what used to cost twenty times that. I've replaced the crappy flashlight in my car, and the dog walking jacket, and now each member of the family also has a bright pocket-sized flashlight with impressive illumination to carry around.

Not a bad deal at all.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Flying Lesson #92 - Recon of Diversionary Airfields

Lesson 92 started as KPTK was humming with Operation Good Cheer.

Operation Good Cheer is when volunteer pilots deliver gifts to children in need all across the state from KPTK.

To say the airport was bedlam would be an understatement. Not only were they rocking dual tower operation (which happens on busy days every so often), they had dual ground going which is the first time I've seen that.

I did a straight out departure to the West to get out of the craziness and headed off to Howell staying at 2,000 feet.

Since Howell tends to be one of the local group of examiners favorite diversion points on a check ride, Ray thought it would be useful to fly there. Since I've driven there already and flown out of there it was quite a comfortable spot. I found Howell ok as a result.

I did a downwind entry and a touch and go that went quite well and then we were off to Linden, another favorite diversion points and one that is a bit harder to find - forested, three nearby lakes and a displaced threshold and it really doesn't stand out amongst its surroundings. Found it and did a landing followed by a full stop taxi back as there really isn't enough runway there for a touch-and-go, or you may end doing a touch-a-tree, which is bad form. Kinda a cool airport there are houses on the field and you can park your plane in your attached hangar if you own a house there. Pretty sweet even if you do have Flint water. But, if you mix the water with 100 octane you'll get 100 low lead for your plane so it's not all bad.

Then back to KPTK where they had us cross the incoming flight path of another plane heading on final for 27R to shift to 27L on a very tight base, Ray took that landing as it was rather tight indeed and needed to be expedited and there was a plane still on 27L aswe were on very short final so it was not a typical approach.

Overall a pretty relaxing flight and the landings were not bad.

I think I'll stick with Flight 101 for solo flights (should I ever book one in weather decent enough for solo) and depending on weather head to Howell and Crosswinds for instruction for the most part (or try to find someone else that is closer) then get signed off by Flight 101 for a check-ride once I get the nagging issues resolved and try to get this thing finished off.

That's 1.1 and 3 landings.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

P30 At 1450 And Range Trip

A badly needed range trip took place yesterday.

My cousin Matt came in to visit this weekend and I took him to the range. He only has experience (quite extensive experience) with his duty pistol, with which he is quite good, so he was interested to try out a variety of pistols and I was happy to oblige.

Together we ran another 150 rounds through the P30, making it to 1450 with absolutely zero malfunctions of any kind to date. The feed ramp is now covered in black gunk but it keeps on going.

He rally enjoyed shooting my M&P 22 Compact with the Gemtech suppressor. Mirabile Dictu, Walmart had some .22LR CCI standard velocity in stock (3 round box maximum purchase). The M&P and Gemtech loved it and ran very very quietly with no issues and it was much more accurate than the Remington Thunderbolt and quieter as well.

He liked it quite a bit.

I also had quite a few other pistols for him to try: The Inglis Hi-Power, The S&W Model 29-2, The S&W M&P 9, The Glock 17, the Glock 21, the PA-63 and the 1911 and the Mauser HSC out to shoot.

Lots of ammo was turned into noise and many a steel target dropped only to be reset and dropped again.

Then back to the house for an epic cleaning of the guns (all save the P30) and then a good diner of Thanksgiving leftovers and a binge-watching of Game of Thrones.

A darn good time.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Teenager Day

Not only is today Thanksgiving but is also a momentous day for Abby.

Abby turned 13 today. Yes, my house now contains a teenager. It's amazing how time flies.

We had a surprise party for her yesterday. When she came home form shopping with Tash, she was surprised by her friends popping out from the kitchen yelling "Happy Birthday!".

Then we took all seven kids to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in 3D.

It's a darn fun movie and if you like the Harry Potter series, this one will fit right in as a prequel of sorts. Worth seeing and enjoying in 3D at the theater.

Then we came home and made homemade sushi (no raw fish though, just make your own rolls). The kids all enjoyed rolling their own dinner. Then dessert which was apple pie and ice cream.

After that, the kids had a sleepover in the family room and Abby woke up this morning to a Happy Birthday song and the traditional cherry cheesecake, and presents from her friends and family.

A great time was had by all.

Now we're cleaning up from the party and preparing for Thanksgiving.

May you all have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Cold Jett Blast

With the temperature dropping, Jett decided to have a long playtime with Rocky.

As usual they had lots of fun chasing each other all over. Jett is still faster and more maneuverable, while Rocky is like a dump truck that waits for Jett to stop and then leaps at him.

They had a great time while Casey, Rocky's owner, and I chatted and caught up with things going on and watched them play while having an adult beverage and trying to stay warm.

We'll know it is officially winter here when the beers Casey and I are drinking as the dog plays actually start to ice up in the bottles (yes this does happen).

The kids were concerned that he was getting cold when he was done and back inside so they gave him a hat. Jett accepted it rather stoically, at least for awhile.

A good dog indeed.

Flying Lesson #91 - Short Field Landings Suck

Yesterday at noon the weather was far to nice to eat lunch indoors. So I called and Ray and a plane was available and I got a lesson in.

We flew up to Lapeer (D95) to practice some short field landings.

Flight there was good, winds were light and it was nice and clear out.

So I needed to work on short field landings and that's what we worked on.

The first landing was sucky, came in too high and when landing landed long and overshot the mark beyond acceptable parameters. Half the fun is figuring out where is the "mark" exactly, not to mention the aiming point for it. It looks a helluva lot easier in books and in online videos to figure this out.

Also dropping to 40 degrees of flaps makes the plane drop very nicely, and this is moreso when you cut the power the nose drops pretty quickly so you need to rotate and cut the power at the same time once you hit your aiming point and then drift over to your mark.

The next few were ok, and maybe I'm being too hard on myself but I'm clearly not getting it. I'm certainly more comfortable flying now but this particular maneuver is not working.

We then came back to Pontiac and I did a decent but not great short field landing. However I think at this stage I shouldn't need coaching to do it and I still need that apparently.

In other news, Ray has been invited to apply at Endeavor Airlines, the feeder airline for Delta (For which I have no doubt he'll do a darn good job) so I'll likely be out another instructor shortly. He does say "I'm close" but that's been said for awhile now so it'll be fun to see if I test before or after he gets called up to the airlines. On reflection I sure as heck don't feel ready now. I can fly fine, land fine enough for normal circumstances and in reasonable crosswinds and for soft fields, but that likely won't meet the check-ride standards especially the no flap slip and short field landings, not to mention the emergency landing procedure is now rusty as is the power on stall while turning.....

For now I'd say my knowledge for the oral exam portion of the test is there, but how long it will all stay in there (it's closed book so it all must be memorized and ready to be spit back no matter how fargin' useless some of the knowledge is to actual real world flying or that in real life you can actually open the frickin' book and have the answer right there) and how long I'm going to keep reviewing it is getting in question.

So do I switch to Crosswinds and pay the lots extra and learn the G1000 setup? Downside is it will mean adding even more time and lots more travel time, probably dropping my flying lesson schedule to once a week and with weather will mean I'll be flying less than once a week. Also spending an hour driving to the field to find out the lesson is cancelled will suck. Do I stick with doing a bit at both?

Or do I just finish at Flight 101?

Do I say screw it and take the winter off as driving an hour each way to Crosswinds in the winter will suck and instead take the time to replenish the bank account and try again in the spring? Of course, by then I'll need a new medical and I think one of the new student pilots cert as mine is tied to the medical, and if we wait long enough and get to October 2017, I can do the written test again - Oh Joy!

In a few more hours, and if I can learn a chandelle and a few figure eights, I can skip the private rating and jump right to the Commercial pilot cert, right guys?

To say I haven't a frickin' clue how to proceed with this and getting kinda disenchanted with the whole deal would be an understatement.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lesson #90 - Real MCA Again And More Landings

I drove out to Crosswinds to get in another Lesson with Don.

After the preflight, moving the aircraft out of the hangar (hangars are nice in general and theirs is damn nice in particular containing many lovely aircraft, btw) and getting fuel we were ready to go. Starting up the Skyhawk SP is kinda different but it does start very nicely. That is once you have the startup sequence, which involves pulling the mixture control fully out at start and putting it in only after then engine catches - which is really counter-intuitive after flying a 172M, down and understood.

We departed to the northeast as Don wanted me to work on minimum controllable airspeed and controlling the plane at MCA.

Unlike the ACS standards, Don wanted the stall horn blaring. This threw me as for the test I've been trying to unlearn going to true MCA and instead to keep above the stall horn as required in the new ACS standards.

He was pretty demanding in regards to keeping the airplane right at the starting altitude, keeping it on heading or to the heading he wanted to go to and to keep it coordinated. In short I need to be a lot more aggressive with the rudder and be ready to feed in power as various air masses and gusts moved the plane up and down. I'll say it was harder than I thought it would be, I felt really off at the start and it took me awhile to "get it", but got better at it, and I learned a lot.

Then we did some landings and while most were good, two were sucky - one had a gust shift on final that I didn't respond to well enough so we did a go-round, which I am rather good at. We also had a sucky bouncer as we did come in a bit fast due to the gusts and at a setting of 20 degree flaps so I need to work on that too including bounce recovery. Overall a pretty good lesson, with a great takeaway that if you trim the plane perfectly on the downwind, you probably won't need to re-trim it on base or final.

After the lesson, Don and a CFI-candidate kindly let me sit in on a weather theory session for the CFI-candidate.

It was very helpful as Don really knows his stuff and it certainly bolstered an area for the oral exam that I'm not as strong in as I would like to be. I think I gained enough in that session combined with my prior study of it to weather that area of the oral exam with flying colors.

We then had a fun conversation with Don, the CFI-candidate and another CFI. It was interesting listening to their stories - the CFI-candidate is a former 82nd Airborne paratrooper and some of his drop stories are rather riveting, including the time they got mis-dropped into a Walmart parking lot in full combat drop regallia. The CFI recounted her chamber ride to find out her hypoxia symptoms which was pretty neat to hear - in short with hypoxia for her and she found out first she'll get a headache but then she'll feel real happy but be pretty much incapable of doing anything helpful right up to the point of going unconscious. Don also talked about his CFI checkride back in the day which was interesting to hear as well. Apparently its not very often that you can truthfully tell a DPE in a nice way that they suck at lazy eights.

Lots of laughs and useful informal learning from some very good CFIs and a CFI-candidate who I expect will become a great CFI.

That's another 1.2 and 5 landings

Of Temps And Tires

With the temperature dropping 40 degrees in a day over the weekend it was time to check the tire pressure.

Sure enough, the tires had all dropped to about 26 psi cold from their normal 30 psi. That's quite a drop.

So I went to fill them only to find our tire air compressor was broken and would compress no more. So, I ordered a EPAuto Air Compressor Pump from Amazon and it arrived yesterday.

It's both a lot smaller than my previous compressor and is if anything quicker, and the digital readout is both easy to read and to set for your tire pressure. It worked quite well and takes up very little space.

A cold air swing will likely reduce your tire pressure and it's a good idea to check them and make sure they're up to spec.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Picking Up Ice In The Run-Up Area....

Is nature's way of telling you you're not getting a flying lesson in this morning. The presence of ice forming on aircraft not rated for flying in known icing conditions does not mix, at all.

The day started reasonably nice with a wind from 15-25 along 270-250 degrees so practically down the runway - ok for a lesson but past my solo endorsement. It's clear, a bright day with a layer at about 3,000.

So a good pre-flight, start up, and a little rain starts to fall but everything is reported and still appears VFR with about a 3,000 foot ceiling, good enough for pattern work. We get to the run-up area and....

Hey, where did the end of the runway go?

We wait for a bit and Tower reports they've still got good visibility and then we notice that while it's raining a bit more, and we're getting some carburetor ice from the moisture in the air and then...the temperature visibly falls.

"We're now picking up ice".

"Yep. we're done"

So taxi on back and we let the Tower know about the icing conditions and the Tower announces they're going IFR, so we go inside for a ground lesson where I did quite well.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Flying Lesson #90 - Gusting Winds Of November

Since I already had a lesson booked with Ray at Flight 101 I figured I'd go with it.

This would be a long lunch type lesson with some practicing for the checkride to come - maybe, eventually, someday, yeah.

Winds were gusting first around 8 knots at 200 then increasing to 12 knots at 200 then settling on around 1618 knots at 170 to 180. Lot of nasty rollers and other bits of fun.

I did 3 very good crosswind landings at KPTK and felt quite happy with myself. Ray seemed impressed as well. I guess that lesson with Don paid off.

Then we headed out to the northeast do some maneuvers and I hadn't done those in quite awhile.

Starting off with steep turns, which are a personal fave of mine now, I did them quite well.

Then on to the FAA's new definition of slow flight which does take some getting used to, and I did climbs, descents and turns in slow flight.

Then on to power off stalls and I was overly aggressive in breaking the stall on the initial try so we worked on that and I simply relaxed the back-pressure rather than forcibly pitching down.

Power on stalls were next and it was extremely hard to get it to a safe break in that configuration without standing the plane on its tail, so we tabled those for another day.

Then we did an emergency engine out and I sucked at that, having not done it in about a year or so. In short I didn't keep it at VGlide which would be a fail. I then did it again with better results locking in the airspeed but need practice estimating the whole gliding distance aspect so I don't overshoot the chosen field. It needs some work.

then we headed back and I did a cross-wind soft field landing which was ok but sporty with the way the winds were gusting and blowing. Then we asked for runway 18 as the winds were 19 knots at 180 which is one heckuva direct crosswind using 27R.

We got permission to do so, and I did an overall ok short field but messed up the ending with a sudden crosswind that messed things up. Then Pontiac got too traffic-y, lots and lots of planes coming and going all over the place, and we had to do a go-round on the next final as a helicopter had decided to sit on 18 and hadn't cleared it in time for us. Then we did one more short field on 18 and that was that. I need to work on the short field landings more.

Overall I'd say that one flight with Don had a salutary effect on my landings and is getting me back on track. I figure I'll take another lesson with him soon.

That's 2.5 hours and 10 landings.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Likely Photoshop Killer For The Consumer Photo Processing Market

Now out for Mac in a production release but now also available in a free Windows Beta version, Affinity Photo is likely going to give Adobe Photoshop a run for the amateur and prosumer/hobbyist photo processing market.

It's pretty darn impressive what this beta can do, and it is pretty darn intuitive.

Like all Betas there are some issues, such as the export photo option which is how you get your processed photo out of the program and ready for use. However, after choosing .jpg it seems to only give the option to export to Affinity photo format, which would be rather useless. Not so, just name it with a .jpg filename ending and it works fine. Hopefully they'll fix that in the next release.

You can go from this:

To this in about 30 seconds:

Not bad at all.

There's a lot of excellent features in Affinity Photo and it looks very promising indeed.

At a 49.99 price point for software you keep and install locally and not subscribe to, I expect it will give Adobe Photoshop some fierce competition in the hobbyist market once it is released in a production version.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Flying Lesson #89 - Getting A Different Perspective

For Lesson 89 I did something quite different.

Taking Comrade Misfit's advice, I sought an outside opinion.

Interestingly enough, the outside advice led back to Don Weaver, the acrobatics instructor I already had met and with whom I did my spin training. I guess it takes a roundabout way sometimes to get to the obvious. He indicated he was a aware of some issues and would be happy to meet with me and checkout how I'm doing.

So I met him at Crosswinds Aviation in Howell, Livingston County Airport, one of the locations he teaches out of and I did their paperwork, did the preflight and he finished doing the lecture he was doing, came on out and we were off.

The plane was a Cessna 172SP with a Garmin 1000 glass panel setup. Quite a step-up from the 172M, it has fuel injection, no carb heat, and no more comfy steam gauges. The preflight was slightly different as a result as was the engine start procedure. The glass panel instruments were pretty easy to figure out (Don had to point out where the ball was on the display, other than that I pretty much got it down quickly and its easy). It also had active traffic which would prove to be a boon in the pattern. It was a darn nice plane - everything was nicely setout and had that newer plane feel. The engine with the fuel injection was smooth as silk, the controls were wonderfully responsive and light, and with the trim set the plane basically would fly itself. It was a damn nice aircraft.

So we started off with my taxiing it, doing the run up and then a nice takeoff after a couple other planes in the pattern landed, no problems. We then did a pattern and I did a decent landing and Don pointed out I needed to be flying with my feet more.

For the next pattern we had 4 planes including a Cirrus doing a B-52 pattern and some other planes which made me happy to have active traffic as with the haze the planes were a bit hard to spot and the traffic monitor made it a snap to figure out where they were to grab a visual on them. The Cirrus constantly did wide patterns and given he was faster but we were on a tighter pattern it made for some definite attention to what was going on so we did not cut him off. This did lead to practice with non-standard patterns, which was fine.

Then Don had me do patterns but then not land and instead hold it just above the runway and move the plane back and forth with the ailerons while keeping the nose straight with the rudder and then do a go around once we ran out of runway. This was both fun and rather instructive in doing slow flight down the runway and proved to be very helpful indeed and really helped my confidence a lot.

Then we would do the same thing but actually land and do touch-and-gos, and the landings were excellent.

Don thinks I do need more focus on using the rudder more but didn't see any serious problems.

He suggested I take more lessons with Crosswinds either with himself or another instructor he introduced me to and work on getting the rudder and airmanship confidence up to where I'm fully comfortable and then either finish up with the flight test with Flight 101 so I don't need to relearn all the instrumentation and such as my other maneuvers are ok, or switch fully over to Crosswinds.

The flight was 1.4 with 6 actual landings and quite a few low passes.

The downsides: 1. Training at Crosswinds is more expensive as their aircraft rate is a fair bit higher for their quite admittedly nicer aircraft, but it's about 25% more expensive which does hit the pocketbook, especially after putting this much time in already.

2. If I fully switch I'm going to have to get used to a G1000 glass panel setup with different instrument setup, and totally different controls for running the GPS etc, and the slightly different procedures for the 172SP, as in quit reaching for the carb heat that's not there and the engine start is different as are the V speeds, though not by much.

3. Distance - instead of being about 25 minutes away, they're a solid 60 minutes away which adds up fast in traffic, time and gas.

I'll probably bite the bullet and take some more lessons there but not fully switch over.

The upside is I haven't felt quite this good and confident about flying, and that I can really do this in a while. Maybe this was all it took.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Did Their Mothers Never Teach Them Not To Play In Traffic?

Let's see, special snowflakes block a freeway, at night, wearing dark clothing and only occasionally shining little lights, with oncoming cars approaching at highway speeds - what could possibly go wrong?

Well, this:

Stupidity tends to hurt, and blocking traffic because you're upset with an election result tends to be the very definition of stupid.

At the very least, the Detroit Police Department announced they will arrest anyone blocking freeways in the city which should cut down on some of this silliness coming out of Wayne State University, and the Michigan State Police has made a similar announcement.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Special Snowflakes Sure Are Fragile

Yes, Facebook is still going full bug-house nuts with the wailing and passive-aggressive threats of disappointed Hillary voters.

College campuses not to be outdone as bastions of leftist group-think have gone into emergency mode to counsel the many special snowflakes aggrieved by the loss.

Michigan's bastions of higher ed are no exception with their supposed leaders of tomorrow reaching for their binkies and crayons to cope with the loss the media told them could not happen.

PJ Media: U. of Michigan Gives Students Play-Doh, Coloring Books to Cope With Trump

Yes, Play-Doh and crayons for students paying tuition of $28,776 plus taxpayer subsidies per year for undergrad at an elite university.

Freep: MSU hosting events for students devastated by Trump win

Michigan State is one of at least two colleges in Michigan dedicating staff and resources to help students and faculty deal with the outcome of the presidential election.

Around 300 people attended and many shared their fears and anxieties of a Trump presidency at the Eli Broad College of Business Wednesday night in an event organized by college administrators.

Counselors and staff at the University of Michigan-Flint were made available Wednesday to address student concerns, and students at colleges across the country, including UCLA and the University of Texas-Austin, marched and protested Wednesday.

Wednesday event, hosted by MSU’s Office of Student Affairs and Services, is one of three MSU-sponsored events planned. On Monday and Tuesday, the MSU Union will have “healing spaces” where students will have the opportunity to discuss how the campus community can come together after a long and divisive election season.

Your parents paying $14,880 a year for your tuition and all they got was a participation trophy.

The Spartans of old are spinning in their graves to think their descendants bearing their names have come to this.

Funnily enough, I don't recall news of any such sessions being held in 2008 or 2012. Conservatives must be made of sterner stuff.

Good to know their logo from 2000 still works:

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Dear Liberals And Lefties - You Will Be OK

Liberals, you and your progressive agenda lost last night in a match between two of the most lackluster and unlikable candidates this country has ever seen fit to select to run for office.

Conservatives made it through 8 years of Obama and the defeat of two lousy candidates to him, and you'll get through this.

Unlike liberals, conservatives at the time and even during this election had been constantly told by the media that they were going to lose and so were able to better prepare for it.

Lefties, dependent on a media confidently predicting a Hillary blowout this morning are far less prepared and the shock of the loss is therefore greater.

The loss has also been amplified by many (not all) leftists inability to think of their opponents as anything but un-progressive, racist, bad-thinking people who can't possibly win or have anything worthwhile to say, so the loss is felt much greater. Leftists haven't had to deal with this in 8 years so I thought I'd provide a helpful guide.

Today on Facebook I see all sorts of disbelief that Hillary lost, wailing, gnashing of teeth, the calling anyone who voted for Trump racist or xenophobic, and demanding that anyone who voted for Trump unfriend them.

It's Ok, your overreactions and hysteria are understandable, you're just going through the Five Stages of Grief.

The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance.

While People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them, a lot of Liberals met Stage 1 last night and are moving right on time into Stage 2.

Take a deep breath, relax, maybe take a break from the Facebook echo chamber and name-calling and move on with your lives. This is not the end of your world as you know it, elections aren't everything, and this loss may enhance your perspective on America a bit and move you outside of your bubble, which can only be a good thing.

America Dodged The Delete Key Last Night

The Detroit News: Donald Trump elected 45th president in stunning upset

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Wowza Not The Election Night I Was Expecting To See

This election is certainly coming up rather unexpected-like.

That Trump may actually win Michigan was beyond likely probability. We'll see if Detroit cranks in the Democrat votes at the last minute (as is its historical style) or not.

It looks like this will go down to the wire with the outcomes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania determining who will be president.

And with that, see you in the morning, and hopefully we have a president chosen by then.


The entire process took 25 minutes and would have been quicker had some people ahead of me, who had indeed voted before in their lives, still not understood how to fill in circles beside the candidate of their choice. This required an exhaustive explanation from the poll worker including how to circle for straight ticket and to choose the non-partisan choices on the back.

There were also two nitwits in front of me who kept going out of line to look at the example ballot on the wall, come back into the line, and then go off to look at the ballot again trying to decide who to vote for as they still had no clue. Yes, their vote -- whatever it was they settled on -- counts as much as yours.

Finally got through the line, received my ballot, filled it out accordingly and civic duty however reluctantly is done. This election has been a red-hot mess.

Might as well close it out with a final thought:

Today, no matter which candidate wins the election, may justice prevail; may hope prevail; may peace prevail; and may the United States of America prevail.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Flying Lesson #88 - Leaping To Lapeer, Roamin To Romeo

Yesterday afternoon, being a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and a light crosswind we headed to Lapeer to do some landings.

As it turned out, Lapeer was busy as T-shiet weather in November will get all the pilots out for another fling. I did two landings, the first one was ok but I came in a bit high, the second much better, and then it was just getting to crowded so we headed to Romeo.

At Romeo there was one plane that had departed the pattern and had announced he would be back in about 5 minutes and another one in the patter, so we entered and did three landings there and soon a few more planes showed up so we headed back to Pontiac.

On the way back to Pontiac we were flying straight into the sun and on downwind I could barely make out the runway. It got better on base and I did a nice landing on 9L and that was the lesson. Lots of practice just flying headings and holding altitudes and a few landings thrown in.

1.6 and 6 landings.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Brisket Results Report

The brisket, I'm happy to say, after a long slow cooking time came out great.

Excellent smoke ring and tenderness throughout,

Slicing it before dinner after it had cooled, we then reheated it and served it to us and out two guests.

It didn't need any BBQ sauce at all and was great straight and served with roasted potatoes and it was highly complimented.

The sad part - there's absolutely no leftovers - it was gone and gone fast.

Sunday Volunteer Services

Today was the annual JFS Fall-Fix up and we again volunteered to take part and help spruce up elderly people's lawns and windows so they can continue living independently.

We were teamed up with some of the kids friends and their parents and off we went to get it done.

We raked leaves, washed the outside windows, and everyone put in a solid effort and got the job done and helped.

Unfortunately, with the fantastic weather we've been having, there's still lots of leaves yet to fall, but it was a solid effort with many bags of leaves removed and windows are clean.

Things Kids Say

Me seeing Leah on the internet this morning looking at horse stuff: Good morning, what are you doing?

Leah: "I'm in the market for a horse."

Me: ok then...quickly checks that the credit card is not near the computer at the time.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Today's Project - Smoking Brisket

Since we're having guests over tomorrow, Natasha wanted me to make something special and since the weather is nice for outdoor cooking she wanted me to make brisket on the smoker.

Her wish being my command, I prepared the brisket with a rub, stoked the smoker with charcoal and hickory wood, got boiling water for the water pan and then introduced the brisket to its new best friend, smoke.

Temperature is up to a nice 200 degrees, heading to about 220 for the initial smoking.

This is going to be a long, long cook, probably about 12 plus hours or so.

We'll see how it turns out tomorrow.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Flying Lesson #88 - The Long And The Short Of It

First we flew northeast over Romeo and then on to a new airport.

Marine City Airport, 76G is on the shores of Lake St. Clair, right near Selfridge AFB's airspace. You want to make sure to stay out of Selfridge's airspace.

It's a short field with 3,100 feet by 60 feet wide and with ditches on each side and a serious obstacle of power lines off the end of Runway 22/4 that go up 300 feet. Of course the winds had us use Runway 22, so I got to practice my short field takeoffs with a serious Vx climb up and over the power lines. My short takeoffs are very nice if I say so myself - even right into the sun I held Vx until clear of the obstacle with no problems.

So we did a couple short field landings, and with the road 15 feet from the threshold we had fun going over an RV - it felt kinda close. The takeoffs and landings were in a light crosswind were ok. The taxi backs were fun as at the runway end if you mess up your turn you'll fall into a water filled ditch on either side of the runway.

Then Ray had me put some foggles on and practice flying without outside references as that will be on the flight test.

He had me navigate by instruments only giving course and altitude corrections and ended up with me lined up on Pontiac's 27L for landing, at which point I took the foggles off and landed the plane with a pretty decent landing.

That's 3 landings and another 1.5 hours.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Flying Lessons #86 and #87 More Crosswind Practice

Yesterday the winds were blowing from around 110-180 gusting away from 9-1 or so. This meant it was Runway 9L time and lost of fun with the crosswind practice.

Lots of bumps and pushes form the wind and various times. All in all not bad on the landings and they're getting better.

We did full stop taxi backs for them and it wasn't too bad, and a few landings were quite excellent. After being bashed around by the rollers and turbulence we called it a day.

1.1 Hours and 6 landings.

Today was much of the same, but the winds were from 180-210 at 8-13 making for use of Runway 27R with a right hand pattern. It was also much less turbulent up there. There was also some bright sun and combined with some haze out of the south made finding the runway on the downwind difficult at times, as in it almost felt like IFR in that direction in some spots. Other than the visual fun, I did some good patterns and had pretty good control throughout even when hitting some rollers at times.

The cool air made for some excellent climb performance. We were doing touch and goes so it was down and then right back to it.

We were asked by the tower a couple times to cut the base in close for some other traffic and those landings went quite well.

No matter with the haze, I did some really good crosswind landings, a couple were flat-ish which is my ongoing bugbear, one was a carrier landing from flaring too early to counter the flat-ish landings, and the rest were damn nice if I say so myself. Nothing like a crab followed by a side slip with the left wing down and the rudder kicked right to keep the nose down the runway, then puling back on the yoke and turning it more left simultaneously to keep the crosswind correction in. Ray said my last three landings were solid A+s. I'll take it, and maybe I'm getting out of this slump.

1.0 and 8 landings.

Monday, October 31, 2016

On This Halloween, May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

Leah decided to go with The Hunger Games for a theme to carve the pumpkin this year. She currently is in a Hunger Games phase and is avidly reading the books and after the book is done she watched the movie.

She wanted to carve it herself and did.

Darn nice job for a 10-year-old.

The odds were good for them tonight. They each came back with a pillow case full of candy and had a great time. We had taken them trick or treating with a few of their friends who didn't live in neighborhoods with lots of trick or treating opportunities and along with their parents we had a good time for a couple hours then we circled back to the house.

The adults had some hot toddies that I made to fight off the chill and we all dined on some chicken chili.

Quite a nice all hallow's eve.

Are You Prepared For Tonight?

It's that time of year again. . . .

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Scratch A Leftie Columnist, Find A Fascist Underneath

The Detroit Free Press' Rochelle "It's All About Race" Riley writes a column amazingly not dealing with race, the greatness of Obama, or gun control.

Taking a break from her usual tripe and expanding her horizons fascist-wise, she writes that she wants Congress to regulate cable television because 9 year-olds might watch the Walking Dead at 9pm at night and be psychologically harmed thereby.

Rather than asking what parent lets their 9-year old be awake at 9pm on a Sunday, much less letting the little tyke watch The Walking Dead?; Rather than advocating that parents you know, actually parent and control their kids bedtimes and tv content; she instead demands the government regulate and ban the evil she believes is the Walking Dead's gratuitous violence.

She actually called the FCC to complain. She was told to politely take a hike as the FCC doesn't regulate cable. She did not like that response.

So, joining the ranks of leading Democrats like Tipper Gore, she doesn't mind the government regulating and banning speech as long as it regulates things her way, and she calls on Congress to expand regulation onto the cable companies.

'Walking Dead' snuff episode should be a wake-up call

Rochelle Riley, one of the Freep's most liberal commentators actually wrote:

"We have freedom-of-speeched ourselves to death"

Rochelle, you have lots of control over your television, and you don't even have to leave your comfy chair in your liberal cocoon to do it. It's called picking up the remote control and changing the channel. Or even better, parent, supervise and have your 9 year old in bed before 9 on a night before school and the problem is solved - no big government censorship necessary.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Flying Lesson #85 - Getting Back To Standards - Good Landings In Gusty Winds

Today was marginal VFR with 2,400 foot ceilings or so and gusting winds.

When I was scheduled to fly the winds were forecast to be (and in fact were) gusting 12-20 knots but right around 270 degrees (or 260-300 at times) so mostly lined up with runway 27R which was rather convenient.

About an hour before the lesson Ray had texted to see if I still wanted to go given the conditions and I said based on my checking the weather ( rocks) while going elsewhere VFR was pretty much out, it should be ok for pattern work. Besides I need pattern work.

Ray said that sounded good to him.

So I got to the airport and it was pretty quiet. Apparently all the other students had cancelled their flights.

During the pre-flight of N73455 the Piper Cub stationed at the field went by.

We'd be seeing him later in the air.

So after a good taxi and run up we had clearance to takeoff from Runway 27R but the controller asked us to fly left traffic. That was kinda strange as that puts you across 27L's zone and then the downwind is on the opposite side of 27 L and the base back to 27R crosses the approach path for 27L.

It turns out he did that as the next plane was going to depart 27R with a northern heading so it got us out of his way. It made for a weird pattern that felt very, very wrong as I was crossing 27L's departure and approach paths. Since no one at the time was departing or arriving on 27L it made it better.

The first pattern was fun with some neat gusts, and a massive kick when we flew over the lake which Ray had told me to expect, and quite a crab angle, but it felt pretty decent. Gusts and crab angles were the order of the day, as was a shifting wind that varied from 260-300 but often was kind enough to hang around 270. The landing was pretty decent and they got better from there.

The next pattern the tower had me fly straight out and not turn crosswind until they called it. They were fitting in the Piper Cub for spacing and it all worked out nicely with him on short final by the time we turned base. Since the 172 is faster than the Cub it worked out pretty well.

I then had another decent landing, still a little flatish as my flare tends to be rather consistently not enough soon enough. Part of the fun is doing this with a crosswind correction and trying to roll the crosswind in, pull back to get the elevator in and keep everything lined up.

A few more planes came in and went.

The next one I was pulling back more and Ray kinda helped get me to do more so we ended at full elevator by the time we touched down and it made for a nice gentle landing. That seemed to have helped me "get it" and the next two landings I did were quite nice and A+s in Ray's book. Then I did another one to make sure I knew what I was doing and while not perfect in that I had touched down before full extension I then said I wanted to do another one and then did a darn good landing if I say so myself.

I felt pretty darn good and a lot better than I have in quite awhile - I was pretty good at judging if I was too high or too low on base and final and did all the adjustments accordingly and it was a lot better, and I was using trim more t take the pressure off the controls to quit being so ham-fisted.

In short a darn good lesson and I'm feeling a heckuva lot more confident and feeling like I may actually be able to get this, which is better than I've felt in awhile.

1.1 hours and 8 landings.

Private Pilot Oral Exam Prep With A Fellow Student

The Oral Exam takes place before the flying portion of the Private Pilot test and it's apparently become quite involved and apparently gotten tougher since the ACS was adopted.

So a fellow student pilot Peter, who is at pretty much the same stage I'm in (he started just before I did) got together last night and over pizza studied by quizzing each other on topics needed for the oral exam.

We quizzed each other on the various markings on the sectional and airspace, as apparently if you get more than two answers wrong on that portion of the oral, the entire exam is discontinued, and every single marking on the sectional is fair game and you can't consult the sectional legend or the FAA's helpful list of sectional markings.

So we finished and felt pretty good about that, and then went on to cover privileges and limitations and the documents and items needed to fly legally.

There's a lot of stuff required in the oral that in real life you will either never use while flying or will simply look up in the FAR/AIM or other reference material if you actually need it. Yes, some stuff should be memorized but there's an awful lot of chaff to lock into your brain along with the wheat. It's a "You're not a Jedi yet so we can make you jump through these hoops" kinda test. That it's closed book test so you have to memorize some pretty arcane stuff is annoying, but the thinking seems to be they want to make sure you're willing to put the time in and be serious about learning the stuff to demonstrate you're serious enough about it before they let you go off all certificated.

That was a good study session and we'll do it again as we get prepped for the flying test.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Flying Lesson #84 - Crosswinds And Positive Improvement

Ray was back and the weather was suitable for flying but with a 10-12 knot direct crosswind. Yep, time for crosswind landing practice.

Unfortunately, one aircraft was out in use on someones' longish solo, one was down for maintenance, and N757MK had an shimmy damper problem, as in non-functional, at all. So much so that landing on it could pose a control problem. So the name of the game was "Be nice to the nose wheel". No touch and goes, just taxi backs.

I was rather determined to set aside the variety of negative thoughts I've been having regarding learning to fly recently and be positive, light on the controls, and really fly the plane. Deliberately forcing a good frame of mind seems to have helped.

So I had a good takeoff of 27 with the wind coming in at 180. I had quite the crab angle in on the downwind but flew a good pattern and my first landing was pretty decent.

Second one was even better as was the third and the fourth was a textbook crosswind landing - landing on the downwind wheel first and holding it off, the upwind wheel coming down next, and finally the nosewheel.

For the fifth and sixth I didn't quite do as well as the fourth, still landing crosswind ok but flat-ish with less of a delay between the downwind and upwind mains touching I need to really keep the aileron into the wind as I was tending to relax it a bit at touchdown.

Certainly one of the better flying experiences I've had in a while and I'll try to keep this on the upswing.

I've gotten some good advice recently from Murph, Brigid, and Comrade Misfit, and it's all appreciated.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Today, The Loss Of One Of The Greatest Aviators To Have Slipped The Surly Bonds Of Earth

MPR: Bob Hoover, One of history's Greatest Pilots Dead at 94

A World War 2 Fighter pilot, A test pilot, and an aerobatic pilot extraordinaire, the world is now a lesser place without Mr. Hoover in it.

2016 has shaped up to be a year when we are saying farewell to far too many of our best.

RIP Mr. Hoover.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Not Flying: You Know It's Not A Good Day To Go Solo When....

The instructor on at the flight school unilaterally cancels both solo student flights scheduled for this morning - mine and another student's due to the winds.

I was debating this morning whether to go up or cancel as the winds were a definite maybe and the decision was made for me, probably just as well.

Sunny, mainly clear with scattered clouds but another darn windy day with direct crosswinds.