Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rain Check

I vacationed a little too hard last week, and spent several hours helping my fiance's family move some stuff. Here's a rain check for next week's blog post.

So sorry.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I am on vacation with my beautiful and insightful fiance and her parents. Come back next week and I'll give you the full, uncensored, unaltered, unedited, no-holds-barred review!

For those of you who are a tad bit curious about my location, I'll give you a hint. It's the state whose flag contains a symbol often associated with Turkey.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wildfires and Thunderstorms

What a week.

It's been good for me, but ever so often I cast a wayward glance towards St. Louis. I never expected to see a major riot in my birth state, not within my lifetime. Guess that goes to show how much you really don't know about the world.

There are two great tragedies at work.

1. It doesn't matter what really happened. A young man lost his life. A police officer is about to lose his career and possibly his freedom. Meanwhile, Ferguson has been turned into a war zone, everyone vs everyone else.

2. Riots can happen anywhere, under the right circumstances.

This highlights what I was thinking about just a few weeks ago on Independence Day. Here is further proof that we're more than capable of another civil war.

But, on the flip side, life's been great for me. Last week I tried my very first attempt at discovery writing. It was slow, and somewhat arduous. I only had the faintest idea of a character and situation. After 12 pages, I still have no idea where the story is going, but I'm intrigued by the character. We'll see what happens.

For now, I've put it aside. I'm visiting friends in Tennessee. After I get back home, more job searching and school work await me.

Be safe out there. I'm going to enjoy the rest of this coffee while listening to the rain.

Power to the pen!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Little Stint Across Three States

It seems that I just can't sit still this summer! As a result, this week's post might seem a bit...scatterbrained? I don't do well with blog posts when I'm traveling. I feel that if I devote a lot of time to taking pictures, I'll miss out on whatever I'm looking at.

After returning from Dallas, I took a pistol class at Tactical Response in Camden, TN. I didn't go down there prepared to take pictures for the blog, but I highly recommend to any of my readers who are serious about firearms training.

After I got back home Tuesday night, what came to my door? Kittens!

Ok, I'm lying. They belong to a friend.

What I really got was a fabulous care package from my beautiful and insightful fiance.

She knows just the right way to pluck my heartstrings. Aren't I the lucky one???

Signed books are always good!

Fan art!

Courtney had also slipped a very nice typed letter into the package. I knew she'd take good care of Vincent. 

Thursday morning, the family and I packed up and went to visit my Dad's side in Springfield, MO.

This was the front of a legit monsoon. Once the rain started coming down, we had ZERO visibility.



A stretch of Current River near Van Buren.


Friday, we went to the Dickerson Park Zoo. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures, but there were some moments too precious to pass up.

This is the only time I've ever wanted a cow.

This is the only time I've ever been this close to a giraffe.

Sweet n' Sour chicken, courtesy of Lemong's.

A GORGEOUS Chevy 3200.

Saturday took me to Bass Pro, the Bass Pro, the one that started it all.

Chillin in an antigravity chair. 
Little gar.


I noticed that yesterday was National Book Lover's Day. Took me by surprise, but I thought I'd share a tradition Courtney and I came up with. Any couples reading this might enjoy it.

1. Go to your nearest book store.

2. Buy a novel you've never heard of based solely on what the back cover says.

3. Read the novel aloud a chapter at a time when you're together.

It's a great way to stretch the ole vocal chords and bond at the same time. Happy NBLD!

In other news, my Tower President, aka "The Chief," has been oiled for about two weeks.
Sticky keys no more!

Power to the pen!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Wings of Freedom

Last week, I throttled back so I could have a chance to get some much-needed rest.

The day I got home, I was happy to find that a traveling exhibit, The Wings of Freedom, had come to the regional airport. I haven't been to an air show in years, so I ponied up the $12 for a ticket and took off!

Sadly, I couldn't actually ride in the planes. Tickets were $450 for a flight on one of the bombers and $2500-$3500 for a trip in the Mustang. If only...

Midwest Aviation is a flying company at the Barkley Regional Airport.
Many thanks to them for hosting the event!

1943 recon and command Jeep.

The B-24 Liberator. This particular plane was used by the RAF and abandoned after the war.
The Indian Air Force rebuilt her, which eventually led to her current status as a living history plane.

Names of those who served on the plane.


Retractable ball turret. 

Bomb bay entrance.


That's one fine-looking pony.

This is the last Mustang in the world with dual controls.
Eisenhower flew over Normandy in such a plane to coordinate the D-Day invasion.

The most famous bomber of WWII: the mighty B-17!
This bomber is the last one in the world that still flies.

Me with Mr. Miller, a veteran. He was an engineer on a B-17 crew, responsible for repairs mid-flight.

Nose gunner seat.


Bomb bay.

View through the open canopy.

The yellow tank is for oxygen. This was before the days of pressurized cabins.
At 32,000 feet, crew was both oxygen-deprived and freezing cold.
Each man had to fly 25 missions before they could go home on leave,
only to come back and do it again and again until the war was over.

The infamous ball turret, the most dangerous place to fly.
Unlike the Liberator, it could not be retracted into the plane. The door wouldn't open unless it was turned to the position you see now. Several gunners lost their lives when the turret gears broke and the landing gear failed.
Pilots had to make the hard choice to sacrifice one man to save the rest of the crew.

The "Mighty 8th" (8th USAF) suffered more casualties than any other bomber group in WWII.

1942 Jeep.

There were all kinds of interesting people to meet. 

Me and Mr. Puckett, another war veteran.
Someday I'll be telling my children what it was like to meet these heros.

I had some great videos of the planes starting up and taking off, but it seems that my computer doesn't want to upload footage shot on an iPhone. Sorry about that. If I can figure out a way to correct the problem, I'll do another post.

After I got home I decided to do some typing on my revamped KMM. My first session was on the back porch.

Work station #1.

The first table was the perfect height for typing on a standard. Unfortunately, it shakes a lot if you're really in the zone. This results in a lot of escapement problems which makes reading and editing the text very difficult. Too bad, the weather was great. I decided to move into the living room.

Station #2

My KMM's been resting here since I got it home from St. Louis. It's a little too short, but it's much sturdier and handles the weight like a champ. No escapement problems at all. For the time being, I'm content to sit on the edge of the couch if it will result in cleaner documents. If Hemingway could write standing up, I should be able to handle this.

The KMM works flawlessly now, although I've realized that I'm uber-protective of my machines. I noticed some faint imprints on the platen, despite using a protective sheet, and wondered if I'd done something wrong. Guess it comes with the territory.

And now for something completely different.

Who likes cruising on the river after a day of fishing? This guy!
No, it's not a "selfie." It's a dynamic photograph.

Power to the pen!