Monday, December 21, 2009

Experiment, Phase Two

A few weeks ago I noticed a gradual diminishing of sunshine. It seemed we were getting ever fewer hours of sunlight. Since all things that are bad, according to the media and popular opinion, are due to capitalism and consumerism I naturally made the assumption----the increased buying and greed around the Holidays are upsetting to mother nature. Nature keeps trying to tell us that we are bad and unless we revert to a stone aged existence, we are all doomed.
So, I stopped spending, supported local measures that taxed people richer than me to help those poorer than me, and learned to see Nancy Pelosi in a positive light. No matter what I've tried, though, the darkness continues to overtake the light. I have a graph I've made that shows the obvious decline. Most scientists agree that without sunlight, things here on earth will be bad.
Well, no more. Trying the progressive liberal mindset hasn't made things better, only worse. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to go back to my Conservative roots. I'm going to take personal responsibility for all my actions. If I see someone needing help, I'll help them directly. I'll work hard to increase productivity. I'll go to church. I'll eat red meat.
Mother nature, if your design for us is to responsibly utilize all your resources to make life better for all, to innovate, to employ, to expand, to produce---and to reap the benefits of our labor without it being taken away by the Government---PLEASE send me a sign. Please, right now, reverse this trend and give us just a little more sunshine each and every day. Then I'll know for sure. If the days continue to shorten, I'll know what was really meant for us and will immediately register as a Democrat.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mckenna's 16th Birthday

Knott's Berry Farm. Oldest theme park in America, and has aged very well. They have a deal in December where fire/police people get themselves and a guest in free, then additional guests $15. They really decorate up well for Christmas too--and I do mean Christmas, not fetivus or sparkle or other such nonsense...Nativity scenes, 'Merry Christmas' banners, carollers, all that.
I have had 3 days off since Thanksgiving. I got someone to come in early (06:45), jammed home, collected Mckenna and 5 of her friends (3 boys 3 girls) and made the 140 mile trek to Buena Park.
Immediately went my own way..Knott's is great since there's lots to see and do, not just rides. I decided at some point to go on 'Ghostrider', a nearly mile-long wooden rollercoaster. Very fast. The park was nearly empty, and I started making my way through the labyrinth of line rails necessary for busier days....As I got nearer the enclosed part, I noticed two older teen girls in front of me. They kept sort of nervously looking my way and huddling towards each other, like I was some stalker or something. I guess a mid forties man wandering around an amusement park alone IS a bit suspicious...There was nowhere else to go though. When I got the the part where there were lots of people just before the ride and I was right next to them, I caught up on some cellphone calls I needed to make. Man...I really hate times when I just don't know what to do with myself.
So, when McKenna's group found me and asked me to go with them on some of the scarier coasters, I did. Good chance to get some pics too. I sent a cell pic to Byron and sort of bummed him out I think when I wrote "This used to be us". We closed the park down, leaving at 19:00. The plan was dinner and presents at the chicken restaurant but the wait was 90 minutes; we opted for Denny's halfway home. After dropping everyone off all around the extended community of Julian, we got back well after midnight. Had to get up early to start a shift that ends Christmas Eve.
McKenna described it as the best day of her life. I hope that's true only up to this point!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wasting a perfectly good recession

During boom times, anybody can start up a business and do well. You get a huge expansion of business, and people are looking for anything and everything to invest their money into. What'll be the next Starbucks? Why didn't I buy more Costco stock when it was still Priceclub? Let's invest in that .com!
The pendulum will swing. Every time. Over speculation, businesses that really don't provide something or provide it very inefficiently, people putting greed in front of sound responsible business practices....Lots of bubbles burst at he same time and you have a recession.
It's necessary.
A recession is a great way to cut out the deadwood. Businesses fail, big and small. The people from those businesses that have something to offer go work somewhere else or even start their own new business. Eventually, if left alone, the recession ends and the strong companies survive to snap up a bigger market share. They earned it.
Along comes our government. TARP funds, stimulus funds, bail outs. It disrupts the natural order and rewards failure. Anytime you artificially shore up profit or income, the economy ultimately suffers. The argument comes up that some businesses are necessary in the event of war, like auto manufacturers. If that is true, then don't hand out bail out money, create a big government contract companies can compete for. At least they'll have to produce something for the money.
When I'm Earth Czar, my econ ministry will only concentrate on eliminating fraud. I will rise to power by preaching trust--trusting people to do the right things. No government can provide all oversight and no system can work unless the majority of folks take it upon themselves to function in a scrupulous manner.
Basically, the best way a government can promote business is to mind their own business, as spelled out in the Constitution.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


While rain is almost always welcome up here, this storm is particularly timely.
Lake Cuyamaca Recreation and Park District is a state entitiy created in the mid-sixties to provide recreational opportunities in San Diego's backcountry. It's governed by a board of directors who must be land owners near the lake. (I believe everyone should serve on two committees, no more, no less....This is one of mine)
Historically, there's always been at least a wet spot where the lake sits. There was an ancient natural lake here but as any limnologist will tell you, lakes are always a temporary geological structure. They tend to silt up.
In 1888 an earthen dam was constructed blocking Boulder Creek. A brow ditch was dug along the western face of North Peak to help feed the lake, too. Water shares were sold in the City of San Diego; the water flowed naturally down Boulder Creek, met with a diversionary dam (still exists) and was chanelled into a redwood flume that carried the water 33 miles to San Diego. This was the original water project for San Diego.
The lake would fill and empty on an annual basis. There were a few attempts to stock the lake with fish but fish don't survive long when not surrounded by a lake, so it wasn't much of a fishing spot.
After many years, and new water projects (including imported water from the California Aquaduct system) the Cuyamaca water wasn't so important. Helix water district aquired the waterproject and dam.
In the mid 60's, 'Wig' Fletcher, son of the developer Colonel Ed Fletcher, approached the State of California and struck up the necessary deals with all involved, to form the Recreational district. One of the things he knew was necessary for a year 'round lake with an active fishery was, and is, water. This is where the storms come in...
Helix water district loses water by keeping it in the lake; the evaporative loss is much higher at altitude in a shallow basin where it's windy, as opposed to letting it naturally drain to the deep waters of El Capitan Lake. The deal that was cut is, we take a reading April 15th and mark that water level. We take another reading December 15th, see how much it's dropped, and pay Helix for the evaporative loss. Since we're getting some good rain before the 15th it's going to be a good year.

Friday, December 11, 2009


(Near here, except sopping wet)

So you're a 40 something year old dude home from work for the day. It's raining out. Do you :

A) Get some things done around the house
B) Hook up with friends at the local watering hole
C) Write Christmas cards, -or-
D) Go mountain biking over some SWEET jumps in the rain?

Our last customer opted for (D).

The wooden ramp is halfway down the canyonside, with a 10' dropoff. If you really get going, you can fly deeper into the canyon. Looking at the jump it's hard to imagine how anyone makes it without getting hurt...
This guy landed HARD. The fire crew at scene knew moving him would be really painful, not to mention difficult and arduous. We were able to immobilize him pretty well and the hoist extraction was smooth, even with the rain. Enroute to the hospital we made him a LOT more comfortable through some chemistry tricks.
The back of the copter looked really bad afterwards. You coulda planted corn. We went straight from the hospital to the Fire Academy training pretty close to where the rescue was; I hope the fact that the gear, inside the copter, and my flightsuit were all caked in mud added some street cred.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Patrick's Most Awesome Day Ever

This was so cool. Patrick's talked about nothing else since. Since he's all straight 'A's, his teacher was good with him missing a day of school to go surfing.
He's learning the basics here from an old pro and his son, a young pro...

Tom Stephenson is the crewchief on another division here at AirOps and a longtime surfer, and avid stand-up paddle board surfer. He and his son Riley set aside a morning just for Patrick.. AnnaMarie met them down at La Jolla Shores. Patrick was lucky enough to find a loaner wetsuit that fit perfectly.

Turns out Patrick surfs 'goofyfoot' (right foot forward)

Tommy had the forethought to bring a jug of hot water. When Patrick started turning blue, he dumped warm water on his head, then wanted to go right back out again.

Of course, we were very proud of Patrick's ability to have fun and do well his first time out....We were even more proud of Tommy's feedback about Patrick, how he was attentive, did all the things they told him to do, was articulate, and most important had fun with it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Please, I need your help

Maybe you've noticed, as I have, the sun is setting earlier and earlier, and rising later and later. In my Fox News-induced warped world view, I assumed this to be some sort of natural cycle; fortunately an enlightened liberal set me straight.
This ominous trend may well be caused by corporate greed and run-away consumerism. When is spending at its highest? Right before Christmas. Look what happens. Then, go to some equatorial third world country that is immune to capitalism and the greed it festers; it's sunny all the time.
So, I need to prove I've been wrong about conservative principles being better for everybody once and for all. I need your help! It's very important to participate whether you lean left or right.
Starting right now, everybody should espouse liberal thoughts and ideals. Developing and selling goods is bad. Sneer at SUV drivers. Hate all things successful. Give yourself over to the government, they'll take care of you. Feel good for paying more taxes; feel great if you can force others to pay more taxes instead.
Then, I've arbitrarily chosen December 21st as the study-shift date. This is necessary to form a control for the research. After the 21st, I need you to pray, or at least think positive thoughts. Try to imagine families where there's a mom, and a dad, and one of them is always home for the kids. Work hard, take responsibility for all your actions and decisions, and if you see someone in need for God's sake help them directly---not by supporting some 'program'. Think of ways to capitalize on your talents to make a profit, maybe employ others, and buy things that someone else built well.
I will diligently track the sun's trend. Since corporate greed is causing this, I expect things to change way before the 21st. Then after the 21st we'll see a reversal of the trend again towards more darkness if the theory is correct. When that happens I promise to reject Reagan and embrace Obama. I will trash Fox News and listen to Randy Rhoades. I'll admit that Hollywood elite really did know more about politics. I'll find beauty in people like Michael Moore and Larry Flint. And I'll....I'll...I'll buy me a hybrid car!