Saturday, March 28, 2009

Internet Connections

27 years ago today I began my career with the FAA. But this post isn't going to be about that. It's just noteworthy, that's all.

As the internet does on occasion it brought to my email box tonight an email from somebody in my past; from 33 years ago. Eugene and I were in the same company in boot-camp in the Navy and he'd taken a picture of me all those years ago and still had it. He found me after I'd posted a photo of our company on my Flickr account and coded in the names of all of us.

(We should never take for granted the power of a Google/Yahoo/Name-your-search-engine query and how quickly it can scour the internet and have the results before you.)

The photo was a bit dust speckled so I brought it into Photoshop and cleaned it up a bit. There's not much to see, really. It's just me sitting on my rack possibly organizing the contents of a single drawer I used for my personal belongings. But it's me, it's from a long time ago and I've never seen it so that makes it important to me.

Gene sent me several other photos of guys in our company but there was one which caused me to pause more than any of the others. It was a photo he took of our Company Commander; our C.C., J.R. Bartling, as the bus pulled away on that last day of boot-camp and we headed for the airport and home. I don't know what the other guys felt at that time but for me it was a profound, indelible moment. Really. He had earned my respect unlike anybody else I can think of to that point in my life. I mention a bit more about him in a series of blog posts I did a few months ago where I talked about what led up to me joining the Navy.

I'm thankful to Eugene for the photo of our C.C. outside the bus. It does an excellent job of taking me back to that moment.

For all the information out there on the internet there's nothing about J. R. Bartling other than what I've written; at least, if there is I can't find it. I'd like to think he'd remember me but I'm quite certain he wouldn't. I'd be just another wide-eyed kid he had shepherded through the program and toward a hunk of gray floating metal.

Speaking of internet connections; I made another one this past week. Steve Miller, a classmate of mine from when I first reported to Minneapolis Center saw the FAA Follies post Paul Cox had done and thought 'hey, I know that guy' or something similar. He posted a comment to Paul's blog as well as mine. We've spent the past two days catching up with each other through emails. It's been fun. Steve works as a controller in Columbus, Ohio closing in on his retirement date.

I shared with him a photo I'd taken of him at the epicenter of Tornado Alley, behind the Alphabeta store next to the Cinnamon Square apartment complex on South May Avenue where I shared a place with John Yaccino. We were out photographing some building storms, or to be specific, some Towering Cumulus or quite possibly some Cumulonimbus. Seeing as how we were there for Flight Service training we had a special interest in all things weather related I'm sure. Actually, I still do have that interest. Of all the courses we took going through Flight Service training, our class with Ed Jessup where he taught us weather was easily my favorite.

Rachel was chosen to be one of the captains for her Mock Trial team next year. She's very happy about that as of course are Tammy and I. She's filling some big shoes as the team has won State the past two years. She has no intention of getting into law but simply enjoys the courtroom experience. She plays a witness for the team.

I had my RC plane out this afternoon but my flying time was cut short as a smallish tree reached out and snagged my Slo-V from the sky. There's a bit of realigning I'll need to do before I can fly it again.

There wasn't much wind today but there was enough to cause the plane to struggle to go where I wanted it to. The decision I need to make is do I wait until I've had more calm weather flying before moving on to a more powerful plane or do I keep trying to learn with this one? I can't say I'm learning all that much because whatever wind is out there, and it doesn't have to be much, is having more of an effect on the plane than my controls are at times. A plane more able to overcome the wind would give me more of a learning experience or so I think. I'll check with one of the guys at work who's been flying RC airplanes for 25 years and see what he says. Or, I could just check with Frank Whiten at Houston Center. He seems to have all the answers.

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