Sunday, October 24, 2010


I have a text at 8:45 saying the first flight was delayed due to fog. It's still foggy. I think the Season of Fog has arrived. It will persist until the Season of Frost, from which I will flee before the snow gets too deep.

I consult the first aid kit list to confirm that we have everything, and then I realize we forgot one item, an eyepatch. Of course: "pailit" "pairit" -- what's the difference? I go out and acquire an eyepatch. Except I have remembered this wrong, because I was there with another pilot and we bought a lottery ticket at the same time. We only matched two numbers, so we can't retire yet, though.

At 10:05 I receive a text message (with a timestamp of 11:05 -- all my text messages here are like that. It must be something about being close to a time zone border) The message says they are taking off now. The hotel Internet is down, so I can't look at the forecast, but it's clear outside. I make a telephone call to get weather and NOTAM for my flight. I expect them to return around 4:40 pm, so I go for a meal at 2:30. On the way out I wait a long time for underclued clerk to deal with some people at the counter, and after all that he doesn't know where to put the postcards I ask him to add to outgoing mail.

The other pilot lands and texts back that the weather failed on them. They return after a detour to the airport terminal to pick up their e-mail using the free internet there. We discuss the fuel flow readings. After the fuel servo failure we're paranoid, I guess. Yeah, the right fuel flow shows lower when it's leaned out, but I never really worried about that. I guess I chalked it up to parallax. I'll check on it if I go flying later.

The lack of Internet really cuts into my entertainment and connection with the world. I watch TV instead, although the television doesn't work that well. The remote doesn't work and the controls on the TV only have channel up and channel down, so I have to scroll though all the channels (they have cable, so there are over fifty) to get to the one I want. And any time I turn it off it goes back tot he default one advertising the hotel and the pay movies. And every once in a while the top half of the picture disappears so I can only see the bottom. I call the front desk to complain about the TV, for repair or replacement, but the promised maintenance guy never arrives.

The internet starts working a little bit. My e-mail program polls for new mail ever seven minutes, and every two hours or so it manages to actually connect and download something. But surfing the web is almost impossible. You have to keep hitting the reload button and having it time out until finally you happen to hit it during one of its brief spurts of workingness. And most websites these days require you to load more than one page, for example log in or choose from a menu, so unless I'm willing to invest half an hour in seeing a web page, I'm not seeing it. I go back to watching TV. There's a show called Say Yes to the Dress, the moral of which is "brides are crazy." Or maybe this show just deals with that segment of the population that is already stark raving bonkers, and happens to be getting married. Oh also brides' mothers are insane. I really understand how some men come away with the idea that all women are crazy. You look at something like that from a human being and you have to attribute it to something, so you go with the most obvious difference.

With television like this, I might as well do something more productive. It's around nine p.m. and I get dressed for a run, but there's a knock on the door. It's our client at the door. "Ready to go flying?" he asks.

I wasn't expecting that, as we haven't usually been going out this late, so I say something like "oh," instead of the more appropriate, "Certainly, please give me five minutes."

Before I can translate he says "just kidding." He told his boss he didn't want to go out in the dark with this terrain. I explained that the door was propped open because I was expecting TV repair. He sympathized with my internet and TV woes. His remote works a little bit and he enumerates the pieces into which the remote will dissociate if you throw it hard enough. (six).

My run is good: up to the traffic light (yes, there's a traffic light in town), across the street to the post office, up the road that goes to the airport where I pass a guy sitting on a front porch playing a country western tune on a harmonica. I don't know what it was, but it sounded good. "Hey, that's good" I yelled. Musicians deserve recognition. I continue along the same road until it connects with the other road that goes to the airport, and I follow that one back to the highway to get to the hotel. The whole route is a couple of hundred metres short of ten kilometres. It's kind of dusty with the trucks, though. Next time maybe I'll pick out a hillier route through quieter roads in town.


steve said...

your internet problem is probably because too many people are trying to use the same connection at the same time.- It's called the Contention Ratio.
As the connection to the Net is expensive, Service-Providers interlace their customers' datastreams in little blocks,thus,ideally, filling the available capacity.....when you pick an "abnormal" time to surf, there is probably a fast connection,'cos you're sharing with fewer on-line.
Out in the sticks, it's probably overloaded anyway. here in UK, it's the cheaper ISP's who have huge contention-ratios and everything crawls around breakfast/start of work and evening/after tea. you more-or less gets what you pays for!

zb said...

hmmm... Could you please add the "electrical" tag to this post because of the precise information about how many parts there are on the board assembly / packaging level of a TV remote control?

(Let me guess: 2 batteries, upper part of housing, lower part of housing, rubber piece with all the buttons and contacts, printed circuit board with parts? This would equal to 6 pieces.)

Jim said...

I get similar problems with my mobile when I cross from Buffalo to Fort Erie... my [Canadian] phone is still connected to the US networks across the river. Need to check before making calls. Power cycling doesn't help, usually removing the battery does (but that might just be a longer power cycle).

Unlike TV remote controls, percussive maintenance doesn't help.

zb said...

Percussive maintenance! Thank you. Great! (Non-native spearker here, always interested in learning new vocabulary...)

coreydotcom said...

On final approach into JFK last May, it was remarkably bumpy. I've flown relatively a lot and this was one of the worse bumps I had ever flown in. It was a flight from Santo Domingo to JFK so my gf and I were virtually the only two "white" people on board. The dominicans were literally screaming, or stating that the pilots were drunk and one woman even undid her belt and knelt in the aisle to make her final prayer before she died (or before the FA could tell her sit back down). Anyways, I was laughing at all of this in my head and I was kinda appreciating the landing (we were in a pretty good crabbing position) and in the middle of this chaotic cabin... my gf taps me on the shoulder, points to her personal entertainment system and asks: "how do you like that one?"... referring to a dress on SAY YES TO THE DRESS... it was one of the most hilarious situations I had ever been in and she was totally oblivious to all of this because say yes to the dress was on... this is why women are crazy

John said...


The females of our species have remarkable powers of concentration. What you call "oblivious", they call "focused". Take it from an old man, you forget this at your peril.

coreydotcom said...

thanks for the advice john!

Aviatrix said...

zb: done, but I'm afraid I didn't ask for a list. He just told me the number.