Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dispatches from the Abyss - Sunday, Oct. 7th

I hope everyone out there had an awesome weekend! I know I managed to despite some crap-ass weather on Saturday which threatened to put and end to my plans to attend the Wings Over Houston Airshow. More about that in a bit. First I want to thank Greg, Scott, Lynn, Rob, and Diana for coming out to my birthday shindig Saturday night. The five of you being there really made the night special for me and I really appreciate it!

Now I would like to start with a joke I just read somewhere on the internets:

A Soviet school teacher asks the class "Who were the first people?"
A student raises his hand and says (in Russian) "Adam and Eve!"
The teacher says "Good, and what nationality were they?"
"They were Russian!" the boy says.
"How do you know they were Russian?" the teacher asks.
"Because they had no roof over their heads, no clothes, only one apple between them, and
they called it 'Paradise'."

This had me laughing out loud! Speaking of the LOL while I was sitting at the airshow I had one of those sudden moments of clarity where it occurred to me that I should have titled this post LOL S1TH. Oh well, maybe I will do better next time.

Whoops! I forgot to take a look at the clock when I started typing so I guess we are going to get some bonus time together tonight. Isn't that sweet? More quality time with the FWJ. Did you know you were going to be this lucky when you woke up this morning? I think not.

When I finally rolled out of bed on Saturday and took a peek out the window I was crestfallen. The rain was coming down pretty good at mi casa and I contemplated skipping the airshow however the fact that I had already spent $42 on my ticket, which was non-refundable, convinced me to at least drive out there and see what was going on. Plus weather in the Houston area can be very weird. I cannot tell you how many times I have left my house to a nice blue sky only to hit a torrential downpour on my way to the comic book store, which is less than three miles away. On top of all that I was already out of bed and if I stayed at home the day was going to be wasted. I got on the road to Ellington Field around 8:00 and was parking by about 8:30. When I arrived at Ellington the sky was overcast with a fairly low ceiling however it was not raining. I decided I had made the right decision and headed in to the air show.

I forgot how massive the Wings Over Houston airshow is particularly when compared with the Lone Star Flight Museum airshow. Since I am all about the warbirds I headed to the far end of the runway where the warbird ramp was located and started shooting photos. It had rained pretty good Friday night so I spent a lot of time taking pictures of the warbirds with their reflections. I have not looked at my pictures from the show yet so I have no idea if any of them came out or not, but I am hoping so, particularly since Rayburn Thompson's Spitfire was there rather than the usual suspect owned by Bill Greenwood. Don't get me wrong, I love Bill's Spit(that sounds all sorts of wrong) however it has been at the LSFM airshow for as long as I have been going and one of these days I will get a good picture of it, however the first time I saw Thompson's Spit was at this year's LSFM airshow. After that I wandered around the show for awhile before finally heading over to my reserved seat and settling in for a bit. I ended up sitting next to a father and son whose last time to attend the airshow would have taken place about the time my dad was taking me on a regular basis. It was really cool.

The airshow was good but I fear a lot of the pictures I took of the planes in the air are not going to turn out too well. First the sky could not make up its mind on what it wanted to do. There were times where I was shooting against a blue sky, times I was shooting against a partly cloudy sky, and times I was shooting against almost complete cloud cover. The complete cloud cover is a pain in the ass because it diffuses the sunlight and appears like a backdrop that has been lit with a massive light, therefore the planes in the foreground appear to be more silhouette than anything else. I am hoping I can fix this with a little processing time in Photoshop. We shall see. The second problem I encountered is that a couple of specks of crap fell on to my sensor AGAIN and I did not notice this for a bit. I was able to clean the sensor there however I am tired of this happening. I am not sure what is getting into my long lens to cause this to happen but it is frustrating as all get out! Hopefully I will be able to salvage some of the affected pictures via Photoshop but I would rather not have to do it that way.

Both the Air Force Heritage Flight and the Navy Tailhook Legacy Flight were awesome however it occurs to me that the Navy really ought to change the name of their program from Tailhook Legacy Flight unless they are attempting to re-appropriate the name Tailhook.

(Check out this video of AF Heritage Flights I found while searching for the website.)

One of the complaints I had about the airshow is that while I managed to score some pretty decent seating, the fence keeping the attendees off of the runway was a bit too tall. I was faced with the choices of either being a dick to the people behind me and standing, which I generally refuse to do except for once or twice, or having to try and shoot around the top bar of the fence, which was difficult at best. I know there are several pictures I have where there is this fuzzy darkness across the bottom of the frame. This is the out-of-focus top of the fence. I can remove this by cropping the photo in Photoshop, but I really wish I did not have to. I think I am going to send a letter to the people in charge of the airshow and see if they will do something to accomodate photographers next year. If they would let us in early and give us a special pool where the fence is lower I would pay some extra cash for this. I should also find out if the LSFM intends to do this next year.

The feature act at the airshow this year was the Canadian (Ha! I spelled this Canadien like the hockey team and did not notice until Word caught the error) Forces Snowbirds flying their CT-114 Tutor aircraft. They flew a pretty cool show and I think I managed to get a couple of good pictures of them flying. Once the Snowbirds were done I wandered the tarmac a bit to allow the traffic to clear out as well as shoot some pictures with a fairly sunny sky. I then headed home to shower and prepare for my evening.

(BTW. Here are all of the pictures I took at the show. This week I am going to spend some time cutting this gallery down to a reasonable volume. Enjoy!)

One thing about this airshow that was really nice is that I managed to escape without a major sunburn. I am sure part of this is due to the cloud cover however there were times where I was sitting in direct sunlight and felt like I was frying. I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and discovered that I was not lobster-red!

After a shower and some screwing around it was time to start the evening's birthday festivities. Rob, being the awesome person that he is, agreed to be my designated driver for the evening so I did not have to watch my alcohol intake. Sadly this ended up not being too much of an issue, but at least I was prepared. He and D picked me up and then we headed over to Catalan for what was perhaps one of the most awesome meals I have ever had in my life. I cannot even remember what all we had to eat. I know my main course was a lamb porterhouse steak on risotto however we had SO many appetizers I do not even know where to being with them. One of the more unique things I tried was roasted bone marrow, the thought of which turned my stomach a little, however it ended up being really tastey! (DAMN YOU FERGIE!) The pork belly and venison tartar were also surprisingly excellent. The pork belly because pork belly is not what I was thinking it was and the venison because while I likes me some sushi, other types of raw meat worry me. Next time I go back I want to try the garlic soup. After dinner we headed over to the Kelvin Arms however we were all in food comas so we ended up calling the night a little early. Regardless of this minor set back I had an excellent evening although I do have to point out that my friends are nothing if not enablers. Here is a pic of the gifts I received that night, in addition to the excellent company which is all I really wanted:

That's right. A box of Montecristo #2's from Rob and D, a bottle of Sean Michael's 16 year old single malt scotch whisky (which is distilled by Macallan) and the previously mentioned Padilla cigar from Scott and Lynn, and a bottle of Connemara 12 year old peated single malt Irish whiskey and a Padron 1926 cigar from Greg. Now I really wish I had a porch on which I could sit with a cigar and a dram or two.

Today I did pretty much nothing but read, watch some television, take a nap, read some more, and then hit Bedrock City Comics, where I completely forgot to ask about their pull service. Oh well, just means I have to go back. I got caught up on most of this week's television which I had managed to miss during the week. So far nothing has been voted off the island although I have to admit that Journeyman is taking some work to get into. I started this week's episode a couple of times before I could force myself to sit down and watch the whole thing. It is not a bad show it just starts kind of slow. On the flip side of that I found Big Shots very funny. The characters are really working for me now and I find myself looking forward to this week's episode AND hoping that this show does not get cancelled. Right now it is toeing a very fine line between comedy and soap-opera. I hope the show stays where it is rather than swerving off to either side.

On the reading front I finished Phonogram. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to any future volumes that might come out. I know I said I would think about how to make the phonomancer work in Shadowrun however after reading the whole book I am not sure how to do that. I think I will have to see some more before I can get a real idea of how to get this done. I do want to check out some of the bands mentioned in the back-matter. I particularly like the line about Razorlight, whom I really happen to like, being a " based around an intense creative relationship between Johnny Borrell and Johnny Borell's ego."

Well that just about does it for this dispatch. I will leave you with this scan from Adam Warren's Empowered Vol. 2 which I picked up at Bedrock City Comics today. This is perhaps the only funny anime-particle physics joke I have ever seen:

Of course not that you mention it, this might be the ONLY anime-particle physics joke I have ever seen. C'iao!

Today I just put Breaking Benjamin's Phobia on repeat. I have a stupid love for "Diary of Jane", which for the longest time I thought was Diary of Pain, and "Breath".

1 comment:

The Egotistical Priest said...

Happy birthday, FWJ!

Sounds like you had a great time, despite bastardly poles ruining your good photo-ops. Props to you for being nice to the people behind you though. As a member of the Short People Club, I commend you, and send you digital lovemuffins.