Monday, August 12, 2013

Ikea Nesting Instinct

I have tended over the last decade to fight against the Ikea Nesting Instinct.  It's not that I explicitly wanted to live in a messy or spartan environment, but I was intentionally keeping fixed expenses low in order to save money while having the budget for things like cars and planes.

Of course we were saving money on the chance that we might some day afford our own place in Santa Barbara.  Some day is now, and now we are... nesting.  We own a couch again.  We bought a television again.  (Our last one was a big, heavy CRT that was actually kinda state of the art for the time!)

Beyond the fact that we were living in small places, I've also had something of a rough relationship with interior design.  I don't like things that don't have uses.  No decorative fake plants.  No chotchkes, or souvenir drawers or anything that can collect dust without earning its keep.  I like horizontal surfaces to be free of any and all clutter.

On the other hand, some pieces DO earn their keep.  A table has obvious merit.  It keeps food off of the ground.  In some cultures, that's not a big deal but with the regular dog population in our house, elevated eating is awesome.

So we got a table.  We also got a television (pictured below over the mantle).  It's been about 3 years since we've had a TV and 9 years since we've purchased one.  I tried not to act like this guy in the time between.  I'm not sure if I succeeded.

Some assembly required, batteries not included, &c.

Look at that - we're pretty much master carpenters at this point

The dogs were interested but had given up by this point

We also got coordinated curtains and sheet set.  We'd had a Cal King for a while but never had a comforter to fit.  We just used several small blankets to provide coverage.  The matching curtains were perhaps superfluous, but as The Dude says, they "really tie the room together."


Hour 68 - Pismo with Vineha and Shiv

It looks like I neglected to post hour 68.  My co-worker Vineha and her fiancĂ© Shiv went with us to good old L52 (Oceano-Pismo).

Some happy fliers
The weather was pretty solid - some cover over Vandenberg (as always), but our route was otherwise CAVU (ceiling and visibility unlimited)
Today's crew, piloting the Cessna 182

After a quick trip to the gas pump, we departed for L52 with Melch in the front, trying (mostly in vain) to see over the cowling of the 182's big six-cylinder engine.

Gas run
Melch is learning a bunch of plane stuff - pre-flight, gas, radios, GPS, iPad, etc.
In addition to the fun approach over the dunes, L52 boasts the Rock and Roll diner as an attraction.  If it sounds familiar, that's because we went there for hour 74 as well.  The mathematicians among you have probably caught me - I posted hour 74 before hour 68.

Rock and Roll railroad car diner

On the return flight, Vineha took the controls and I showed her how the basic flight surfaces worked.

Also struggling to see over the cowling...
Vineha ended up with two vehicle lessons in one, as she was also interested in trying the 911.  She was pretty new to manuals and her experience had been in India where they're backwards.  She did quite well though and didn't put car or passengers through any severe discomforts.

Once she was done I took the wheel to demonstrate the capabilities of the machine (hoon about for a bit).

First flight + first drive in a 911?  Not a bad day!
The stop-motion video from the flight is on youtube.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hour 75

"Santa Barbara clearance - skylane 411-bravo-pop with yankee - VFR east practice area."

My radio skillz might not be top-notch, but I'm becoming a pro at asking tower for The Tour.

The "east practice area" is a bit of airspace on the eastern edge of SBA's class C that's out of the way of arrivals and departures.  It's called a practice area because folks go out there to practice things like stalls and other maneuvers either as part of their training or in order to remain fresh.

It also just happens to contain a few things of interest to sightseers: Santa Barbara, it's coast and harbor, Montecito, and some great views of the Channel Islands.  It's the perfect out-and-back flight for out-of-towners or folks who aren't sure that they'll enjoy flying in a small plane.

Hour 75 contained both.  Marco and Cristina are friends of Emilio's who were visiting from Italy.  Cristina was concerned about how her body would react to the slings and arrows of general aviation. I offered to take her up and turn right around and land if things weren't working out, but the quick return was not required.

We made it out passed Oprah's house (aka Montecito and its environs and came back to base for a passenger switch (Tina out, Emilio in).  Cristina enjoyed the first flight so much that she wanted to go up for a second time.

Marco had been in the front on the first run and I gave him a bit of yoke time to learn how the control surfaces worked.  Cristina got to fly most of the way back, even through most of the descent to SBA.  Unfair to Marco, but when it was his turn I was worried about the smoothness of the ride for Cristina.

The weather was good but not great.  The peaks of the islands were visible above a marine layer and the area off to the west was somewhat hazy, but visibility was great to the east of the airport.  It was actually a rather warm day in SB, especially at altitude due to the temperature inversion.

Good times were had by all, and I may have heard Cristina mention something about wanting a pilot's license back in Italy...

More photos can be found on flickr.