My (flying) life is strewn with cow pats from the devil’s own herd

Sorry, Edmund Blackadder.

Here is what I’m currently dealing with both as an officer of the Rochester Flying Club and as a member

  • Our insurance company, and indeed all insurance companies, are saying that they won’t write “whole club” insurance policies on our Lance any more. They prefer to write “named pilot” policies with only 5 or 6 pilots per policy. Another local club is carrying two policies on their Lance because of this. Since we’re paying $8000 a year for the existing policy, we’re not looking forward to this. Since they’re going to be looking to insure only high time pilots with lots of experience, and I’ve only *just* checked out in the Lance earlier this year, and I only have 15 hours in it so far, I’m definitely not looking forward to this.
  • The Lance’s engine is old, but is still showing no major problems, but we could have to replace it soon – and if we have to sell it because we can’t get the insurance, we’re stuck with eating the cost of the new engine whether it needs it or not.
  • We’ve known since its last annual that the engine on the Dakota probably won’t pass inspection next year, so we’re planning on replacing at annual, or sooner if the engine compressions drop or we start seeing metal in the oil samples.
  • The oil leak on one of our Archers was going to require reboring a cylinder stud hole and replacing the stud with a bigger one, but when our mechanic got the cylinder off he found the case was cracked, so we’ve got to rush-job get a new engine for it.
  • Fuel prices continue to climb, and therefore so do our hourly rates for the aircraft.
  • Our club’s recievables have been in a terrible mess for a year, often going several months without a bill. Well, I just got notice that after the President of the club audited the bills, they discovered that a payment that I had made for $800 got credited to my account twice, so when the next bill comes I’m going to owe that $800 plus however many months of flying I’ve done in the mean-time.
  • And while I’m legally current to fly instruments, I haven’t flown in real IFR conditions for so long that I’m feeling like the first low overcast day I should find an instructor and do some holding and approaches in the clag.

It’s a small world, after all…

On the first couple of days, before I really adapted to the time out there, I got up fairly early to wander around the ship, especially out on the promonade decks. I discovered some cool little hidden corners of the ship that way, like this little promonade in the bow that you could only get to from the promonade above it and which had a sculpture that evoked an old fashioned ship’s wheel and binnacle.

On the second morning I was up on the deck at about 7:30 taking pictures as we came into Juneau. And I got to talking to another guy who was just up there enjoying the view. He had an Irish accent, but he said that he lived near Manchester. Well, I lived near Manchester back when I was working for GeoVision, subcontracted to Andersen Consulting. I told him that I’d spent 6 or 7 months working in Warrington and living near Manchester. He said that he lived in Altrincham. Oh, too freaky – while the first month I was there I lived in a hotel in Knutsford, the rest of the time I’d lived in Altrincham. He asked me if I lived in Bowden or (someplace else). I had to admit that I couldn’t remember any street or neighbourhood names, although Bowden sounded a bit familiar. By now I’m thinking that he probably thinks I’m making it all up just to be chummy. “Where did you drink?” Ah, finally a name I could remember – The Griffin. “I live 5 minutes walk from the Griffin!”. I remarked on how back then it seemed like all the young people were drinking bottled Budweiser instead of the quite good house bitter, and he agreed that this trend still continued, and that now the pub pretty much has two crowds, the young Bud drinkers early, and the older bitter and scotch drinkers later on. Sure enough, it appears from comparing notes that it’s quite likely that back in 1992, we might have been in the same pub at the same time, and now here in 2004 we’re on a cruise ship together. Now that’s just freaky.

Alaska Trip, Part 2

I keep meaning to write more blog entries about our Alaska cruise, but I haven’t been able to. Part of that is pure intertia – I still haven’t adapted back to local time and I keep waking up in the middle of the night and falling asleep in the day time.

So in order to get some of it down in a timely manner, I thought I’d write about what for me was the highlight of the trip.
Continue reading “Alaska Trip, Part 2”

And the horse you rode in on, too!

For the past couple of days, this “Willow Internet Crawler by Twotrees V2.1” has been agressively crawling my site. And I mean agressively – they download every single page as quickly as they can, with no pause between them. This is a bit of a pain, because it means they are sucking down my bandwidth that I’d rather use for live human beings or better behaved applications.

But today was the last straw – I have a robots.txt file because when web crawlers hit my image gallery, they tend to cause errors in the php code that gets logged in /var/log/messages. So today I noticed a “Last message repeated 147 times” message scrolling by, I looked and sure enough “Willow Internet Crawler” isn’t obeying the spider guidelines – they haven’t even looked at my robots.txt.

first thing I did was go to their web site – and discovered that under “Contact Us”, you can only see their email address while your mouse is hovering over the title – once you move the cursor away to actually type in a mail program, it goes away again. And the address isn’t in the same place as what you are hovering over. Making it a (probably purposely) difficult to cut and paste the address into mutt.

So fine, you want to be an asshole? I can be an asshole too. I opened up /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf, found the “allow all” line, and added a “deny” after it, restarted the web server, and now I’m watching “Willow Internet Crawler” get a lot of 403s. So fuck you,, and the horse you rode in on too.