Thin Ice

If twelve inches of ice is thin.. we were on thin ice.  We were invited up to Sebec Lake for some ice fishing (my internal GPS was broke bad today!).  We hadn’t been out this year, so we thought we thought we’d better go now if we were going.  The ice was incredibly slippery.  Ice skating smooth, but slippery.  Jess stepped out on the ice just long enough to say she did (crossing the open water was a bit too much for her).  Nathan and I skated some and watched for a flag to wave on the traps.  We had other items on the ToDo list that day so we couldn’t stay long, but the report came back later that no fish were caught all day.  Maybe next year.

One misstep and things could get chilly.

One misstep and things could get chilly.

Happy Two Days After Valentines

I’m not big on the card giving holidays.  So I waited until the flowers were cheap before I participated in Valentines.  Actually, Jess and I had a night out Saturday, so that counted for something right?  And I don’t need a date on a calendar to tell me when I should tell my wife I love her.  I do that everyday.

Looks about nine flowers short of a dozen.

Looks about nine flowers short of a dozen.

Airman Waite

Finally.  It sounds more impressive than it is.  I still have a long way to go, but I had, and passed, my FAA Medical Exam today.  That means I’m officially a Student Pilot.  I won’t consider myself a *real* Airman until I pass the Check Ride and have my ticket.  But for now, I’m healthy enough to fly and will continue to do so.  Next milestone.. Solo Flight.  Now that I have my student pilot certificate, I can fly solo once my instructor signs off.  Initially, it’ll just be around the pattern.  Then the training area, but eventually.. a cross-country flight to another airport.  Onward and forward.

Nothing fancy, some words printed on some printer paper - but it means a lot to me.

Nothing fancy, some words printed on some printer paper - but it means a lot to me.

To Build A Fire

One of my all time favorite stories from my youth was Jack London’s To Build A Fire (read it now on Google Books!). A gripping tale of a Yukon man attempting to survive in -50F temps.  And lately I’ve been on this bend to expose Nathan to “life skills and new adventures”.  A couple years ago I watched a TED talk by Gever Tulley, “5 Dangerous Things to Let Your Kids Do“. Fairly benign things from my youth, but seemingly controversial nowadays. (Use a jackknife, drive a car, build a fire…).

So last year we jumped off the house roof.  An incredible thrill for a 9 year old.  He received his first jackknife when he was seven (Cub Scouts).  Last month, a firearm (no, not to be used without adult supervision).  Next, I thought he should strike a match and build a fire.  A life skill if I ever knew one. Not as easy as you’d hope.  Funny how a stray cigarette butt will start a forest fire but it takes forty matches and white gas to start a campfire!

Okay, so no accelerant was used for this fire.  It took five matches and a little help from Dad.  But he was able to build a small fire to warm his hands by.  What’s next?  Not sure, but Gever has a new book 50 Dangerous Things – I think I can get some ideas from there.

Breathing life into the fire.

Breathing life into the fire.

Student Pilot – Lesson 12

Lesson 12 in the books.  Something completely different.  We flew to Waterville (KWVL).  Had a chance to use the radio a bit (AWOS) and the GPS on the way back.   Rough turbulence on the round-out back in Pittsfield, things got a bit crazy, so I went around and re-grouped.  Enjoy.

Flying, By The Numbers:

WEEK: 17
LESSON: 12
HOURS LOGGED: 12.4

Banff Mountain Film Festival

An annual tradition at this point.  Jess tells me I started going over ten years ago!  I may have missed a year or two, but I’ve been to a pile of them.  Some years are better than others, this year was right in the middle.  And this year I introduced it to Nick, whom I’m sure will be back for more.

Let me clarify.  We don’t go to Banff to see this. Bummer, I know.  The festival comes to us.  It lands in a few locations in Maine.. Bangor, Ellsworth, Portland.  And what exactly is it?  It’s a festival for people to submit their films to. Folks submit their film (short/long or otherwise) to the festival.  The film is reviewed and certain ones are chosen to be shown (winners).  The real festival of course is in Banff – it’s be great to go there to watch them.  After the winners are chosen,  a variety of these films are selected to take on the road to show to cities around the globe.  What kind of films?  The best kind.  Homebrewed, in the spirit of culture and adventure.  Heli-skiing, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, just about anything that is done out of doors.

This years long film was about a guy who road a tandem bike from Alaska to the tip of South America (19,000 miles – 14 months?).  He would try and get people along the way to fill the back seat and help him out.  240 people joined him along the way, whether for one hour or 10 days.  One other was about four French guys who climbed a 6000m rock wall.  They lived on and climbed the wall for twenty days to summit.

Living vicariously through others.  Someday we’ll submit our own film.  Someday.

Banff ticket, worth the $

Banff ticket, worth the $12

Microprocessing with Arduino

Sounds impressive.  The photo looks busy. Probably doing some cool things and getting a ton accomplished huh? Negative.  But it’s still fun.  It’s been about a year since I spent much time with my Arduino (programmable microcontroller to control the physical world [motors, lights, etc] vs. controlling  software).  I volunteered myself and Ken to introduce the Jr High group to electronics and we thought it would be fun to dabble with the computing side of it also.  We dorked around for a couple hours, blinked a few lights, made a speaker squawk and came up with a couple of ideas.  So, my typical Saturday was derailed finally, yeah.

Ken blows my mind with a potentiometer and LED.

Ken blows my mind with a potentiometer and LED.

BBall

Nathan is still at it.  I guess we still have maybe three more weeks of peewee basketball.  He’s improving and they do a good job keeping them organized during drills.  During the scrimmages?  That’s another thing.  A lot of “magnet” ball going on there still.  And that means a lot of “full court presses” that they’re not really aware of yet. Saturday routine again… Basketball, lunch, groceries, home, transfer station, etc. etc.

Nathan during the Jump Shot drill

Nathan during the Jump Shot drill

Student Pilot – Lesson 11

Well… that was quick.  I just used my new camera on WED and it worked fine.. now its not working.  So back to the backseat camera only.  But, I think you’ll find the video a little more interesting today.  Corrected some unusual flight attitudes, did some accelerated stalls, and did a soft field landing (not so soft.)