Jun 272017

The signs pummeled us just as we crossed into my sister’s home state last week. She had warned me about aggressive speed limit enforcement in Virginia, and indeed, we were all of two miles across the state line when we passed our first pair of cruisers in the median—one aimed northbound, the other southbound.

After I determined in two different speed traps that a plain-Jane minivan with the cruise set at 75 (in a 70) wasn’t going to attract attention, I relaxed.

But I did take an opportunity to entertain my family with a story about that sign, SPEED LIMITS ENFORCED BY AIRCRAFT. (You know how we all have those things we should have learned/realized sooner growing up than we did?)

We had those signs on I-20 through Alabama when I was growing up, and I’d see them in the little strip of the Florida panhandle we had to drive through to see my mom’s parents. And until I was about 10, I just assumed there was a cop in a Cessna up there, and when he nailed your sorry ass, he was landing that airplane on the highway to give you a ticket.

Silly, right? Imagine the logistics of such; the risk to life and property; the costs. What a dumb thing to think!

So, when I finally realized how stupid that was, I thought “ahhhh. They land a helicopter to give you a ticket.”

See how smart I got after I realized my mistake? Sigh.

That lasted a couple of years, until I actually put it together that law enforcement pilots, when they were there at all, were relaying (sometimes) radar readings, but (mostly) timing measurements, to ground officers (you know, in cars), who would then stop the motorists.

I question how many of these manned flights occur these days, simply because of questionable ROI. But Lea pointed out during the discussion that this could be a highly effective use for a law enforcement UAV.

Be careful out there. And remember, even smart kids think dumb things sometimes.

(Thanks to the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office for the photographs of actual law enforcement aircraft.)

 Posted by at 10:08 am
Jun 232017

We’re back from visiting my sister and her family in Williamsburg, Virginia. We saw Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, and the USS Wisconsin, in and around a lot of good food and laughs.

The roller coaster diet plan is solid, but it wasn’t grand enough. I only got to ride Loch Ness and Verbolten, missing out on all of the rest. (Verbolten was close, so I might have actually achieved that one with my loss.) Here is Nathan taking a turn on the Griffon, the one I most regretted:

I still need a good four inches off to get into the others. That’s excellent motivation for next year.

More later. Today is a day of recovery.

 Posted by at 2:09 pm
Jun 192017

As I type, my mother has been gone for 16 years; her mother, for 14.

But because of the haphazard ways they brought to some things, my sister still occasionally finds a box of photos we haven’t been through. This most recent one we’ve examined might be the best one yet.

If I’ve seen the photos before, usually I can remember going through them, even decades later. I pick up the narrative of the collection and start remembering other photos that I’m about to encounter that I haven’t yet; stuff like that.

But this box has a lot of photos I’ve never seen, including a truly amazing photo of my parents, as well as photos of my childhood home under construction.

I’ll begin sharing them with you in an upcoming post. Tonight I am finding them incredible because they’re supercharging the reordering of things in my mind that was already underway. I have some rooms I’m trying to expand. I have others I need to keep around, but move some things out of. And finally, I have some I need to brick over and forget about.

I guess that’s not really all that novel. But I’m badly overdue, so it feels so.

More soon.

 Posted by at 9:35 pm
Jun 152017
  • It’s icky outside already. Full air conditioning in the car is necessary from first thing in the morning. Get thee along with oneself, summer.
  • Here are both It trailers (so far) put together. I think this is one of the greatest horror novels I’ve ever read, and I think it’s being adapted to film by people who understand it at a spiritual level. This one is going to be rough. I can’t wait!
  • Good interstate traffic advice from an actual over-the-road truck driver:  If the traffic starts to get erratic, like there’s a wreck or something ahead, look for an independent/owner-operator trucker (nearly any Kenworth or Peterbilt; anything with custom paint or other personalization; etc.) and do what s/he does (lane selection, etc.). S/he is most likely to be monitoring the CB for current information.
  • The new dishwasher through me a slight curve last night that gave me a wonderful chance to work on my anger management skills. Sigh.
  • Texas was a bizarre race because of unforeseen tire difficulties on the new surface, as well as pack racing generating three significant accidents. Some of the drivers are hoping for less downforce from the new aerodynamics next year, reemphasizing driver skill and likely breaking up the masses of cars. We’ll see.
  • The Xbox One X has the boys considering throwing their Christmas lists on the altar of a 4K TV. (“The boys” means Nathan, Aaron, and I.) We shall see.
  • Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins on their second Stanley Cup in a row. Great run, Predators. We’ll come catch you in person sometime next year.
 Posted by at 2:34 pm
Jun 132017

I review a book once in a while on, but I can’t recall ever posting a “pre-review” before I’m done with it, as I’m doing right now with Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak by Leila Miller.

My parents divorced in February 1982. I was not quite 11 years old. My younger sister had just turned 8. It was easily the most significant event of my childhood, and I have many memories of the way things were before vs. the way they were after. Furthermore, I have strong opinions on it—some longstanding, others more recently formed.

It’s rather difficult to write or talk about it without sounding self-pitying, and to a significant degree I sympathize with those who would say so. We play the cards we’re dealt.

But this book is also an important counter to a lot of “progressive” thought that says things like concern about children should be an input into the decision, though perhaps not a primary one. Or, my favorite: “kids are resilient.” Yes, kids bounce back because for the most part, human beings bounce back—but that doesn’t mean they’re the same.

The book is not fun to read (how could it be?). I am nevertheless enjoying it because I’m finding kindred spirits saying things I completely understand—and in a few cases, vocalizing thoughts I’ve always had but never expressed.

More to come in a full review soon.

 Posted by at 11:27 am is using WP-Gravatar