Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cleveland Cavaliers

[migrated from myspace blog]

This is too good. It deserves its own post. Playoffs start this weekend and Cavs have home court advantage against the Washington Wizards.

"I think everybody wants Cleveland in that first round. They've been a .500 team ever since they made that trade, and everybody wants a chance at that matchup. We want Cleveland for our own reasons, we don't think they can beat us in the playoffs three years straight. It's hard to beat a team three years straight. We want to try our luck." - Gilbert Arenas

"I think the Washington Wizards have got to be the dumbest team in the history of civilization. I think for them to rile up LeBron, who's the second-best player we've got in the NBA . . . I think that's just stupid. I thought [the Wizards] had a chance to win that series. I don't think that any more." - Charles Barkley

Saturday, April 12, 2008


[migrated from myspace blog]

I've had the same background image on my page for awhile and I was looking for something with which I could replace it (also, I probably need a new avatar. I don't actually wear 23 for the Cavaliers, and I finished reading that book 2 weeks ago.)

I still haven't picked out a new background, but I came across some pictures of Tucson (taken when I lived in Phoenix for flight school) that reminded me of the year we lived there when I was 10 and decided to write about it (and show pictures) on the off-chance someone might care about what I was doing 19 years ago.

For my whole life my dad has had ankylosing spondylitis, and my parents decided to move us to Arizona for a year, hoping that the almost non-existent humidity would help him out. Back then he could walk well with only a cane, and even ride a 2-wheel bicycle. It must have been the fact that we were someplace different, but I could probably tell more stories about my 5th grade year than I could my 4th or 6th. Most of the things that really stand out as memories can pretty much be seen in the pictures, but need explaining.

We had never lived in an apartment before, so that was new. Our complex was within site of Mt. Lemmon.

Topping out at 9,000 ft., Mt. Lemmon was always much cooler than in the valley, so it was a fairly popular place during the warm months (and during the winter if you wanted to play in the snow. We used to spend entire days up there with a picnic, climbing on rocks, and sitting in the shade of the pine trees.

The complex was also just up the street from Circle K (we had been used to 7-Eleven at the time in Ohio.) That was where we would go to mix as many flavors of soda as we could to go with our junk food, and play the video game they had there, Gauntlet.

The other place we spent a lot of time was, of course, the pool. We actually grew up with a pool in the back yard, but this was much larger, and it was more of a social gathering place. It was pretty much a given that as soon as we could get home from the bus stop, it was time to go swimming. We also got to swim on Christmas day.

See how some of the bricks on the right side are darker red than the others? That's because most of them weren't there when we moved in, and the ones that were got torn down. Not that we had anything to do with it, of course, but we had easy access to the back ally, and we could easily walk up the "steps" onto the wall and just walk along it. In the mind of a 10-year-old boy, spending the afternoon walking along the wall is even more fun than playing in the pool. I don't know why.

This mini-wall seems to serve no purpose, but that's where the school bus picked us up, so we climbed up and sat on the wall to wait.

I know, we already saw the pool, but check out the pay phone on the right. That was the only phone we had for a year. One of the neighbors let us use theirs on occasion, but for some reason my parents decided not to get a phone in the apartment. On at least one occasion one of the other kids in the complex came knocking on our door to tell us that someone from back home had called the pay phone. Maybe it was just the one time when Uncle Jack died just a couple of weeks after he came all the way out from Ohio to visit.

Okay, so this is the school we went to. It was broken up so each building had pretty much one grade. The classrooms were kind of wedge shaped, with a circular room in the middle connecting to all the classrooms. The circular room had computers where we got to play Oregon Trail. Now, the above picture looks pretty normal, and that's about how it was when I went there, but if we zoom out:

We were not fenced in when I went there. I don't remember living in a bad part of town, but maybe I was just too young to remember. It did seem run down and dirty when we were driving around, but I don't know if it had been that way, or just deteriorated in the time after we moved back to Ohio. There's probably a dozen other things I could reminisce on that still no one would care about, but I don't have pictures.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Air Force One / Ghost Hunters

[migrated from myspace blog]

I've seen some interesting things in the time I've been at my job. DC-3, F-86, F-16s, F-15s, T-34s, A-10s, and of course plenty of C-5s. I've had the privilege of taking off and landing on the same piece of land used by Orville and Wilbur to develop their planes following their Kitty Hawk flight.

Tuesday I was returning from a flight with one of my students and saw a 747 flying in the pattern on the parallel runway. As it came around next to us on base to final, I could see the highly polished white and blue paint job and presidential seal on the side. Obviously the president was not on board, so it was not "Air Force One" at the time, but it was clearly one of the planes that uses that call sign. The call sign they were using was Venus Zero One. I didn't have my camera with me, but...

Then last night the Sci Fi channel aired an episode of Ghost Hunters which was recorded at Wright-Patt a few months ago. I don't usually watch those kinds of shows because I don't believe in ghosts lingering around on Earth after they die (Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" Luke 23:43). But it was fun to see the hangers at the Aero Club where I work and all the other familiar sites around the base.