Sunday, July 29, 2007

While I Was Out

Wow. That was a long time without posting. So long, in fact, that my evil twin Sam (different Sam) was worried enough about me to post a query in the comments for my last post. I'm touched! (Hey, where were the rest of you!?). The reason for my absence is one of the following. You decide which excuse to believe.

A) I was jumpseating to Atlanta to visit a friend, and the Delta captain turned out to be one of their assistant chief pilots. He gave me his email address and asked me to send him a resume, which I did that night - imagine my surprise when I got a call from HR the next week inviting me to an interview! I studied for the interview harder than I've studied for anything in my life. I can now recite my "Aviation Technical Interviews" book almost word for word. I even trained at the gym seven days a week in preparation for their physical exam. My interview was last Monday, and I was given a conditional offer of employment! Since then I passed the psych and physical exams, so pending the background check I've been offered an August 27 ground school class!

B) I was on a Boise layover when I woke up late because I never got a wakeup call and my cell phone battery died during the night. I threw on my uniform, shoved my clothes into my bag, and ran downstairs, but I was too late - the van had already left. The front desk called a cab for me, but it was fifteen minutes before it arrived, and then road construction forced an alternate route that took longer than usual. I hadn't had time to brush my teeth so I gargled some mouthwash in the cab. Then, the fare came to $3 more than I had in cash so I had to run to an ATM in the terminal. At this point it was only fifteen minutes before scheduled departure time....if there weren't any delays at the TSA checkpoint, I'd make it just in time to whip out my preflight flows and I wouldn't get in trouble for showing up late. There was a line at security, but it's customary for crewmembers to cut to the head of the line, which I did. The man I cut in front of started complaining loudly to a nearby TSA agent, saying his flight to Portland was leaving soon. I told the guy I was his first officer, so the plane wasn't leaving without him. He cracked a joke about me staying up too late in the bar, which the TSA agent overheard and suddenly started getting in my face. He claimed he smelled booze on my breath (I'm assuming Creme de Scope). He pulled me aside and made me wait while he found a manager, who then told me to wait while he called airport police. At this point I was furious and started arguing with the manager. This is a family friendly blog so I won't quote the complete conversation, but "Your fascist tendencies would be a little more endearing if they weren't accompanied by overwhelming incompetence" was one of the tamer things I said. Needless to say, I didn't make my flight. I almost spent a night in jail. During the meeting with management, my recent blog posting spoofing the TSA came up. I ended up with two weeks paid administrative leave, during which time I've been nearly continuously drunk and therefore haven't posted.

C) I discovered that now that Team Fortress Classic has been out for eight years, most of the h8rz got bored and moved on, taking their b'hopping, spawn camping, nail exploits, and nade hacks with them, allowing mediocre gamers like myself half a chance. I've been playing in every spare moment for the last three weeks. I've finally mastered sniper and have moved on to playing soldi or medic once in a while. I've even checked out a few maps other than 2fort! Dustbowl is pretty sweet.

D) Dawn and I went backpacking in North Cascades National Park a few weekends ago. We were on the Cascade Pass trail when I noticed a herd of mountain goats on a nearby ridge that was accessible by a side trail. We stashed our packs by the trail side so we could go light while climbing the ridge - I took only my camera. It took about 20 minutes to climb the ridge. When we got to the top, we spent about a half hour watching the goats and taking pictures before we started back down. As we started down the ridge, it started to rain and the trail started getting slick. Unfortunately there were only about two hours of daylight left and we were in a hurry to get to a suitable tent site. I was jogging around the end of a switchback when I slipped on a wet rock. It was a pretty exposed position and there was nothing I could do but yelp as I went over the edge. I cartwheeled a few times and then blacked out. I woke up only a few minutes later in excruciating pain. Dawn had down climbed to me and was trying to gently pull me behind a slightly overhanging boulder to get me out of the rain. She stayed with me a while but with our packs back on the main trail, there wasn't much she could do for me except wrap her sweatshirt around my head. We decided she should go for help. As soon as she left, I regretted it. The temperature was rapidly dropping and I was soaked to the skin. I dragged myself under the boulder and started shivering. What followed was the coldest, loneliest night of my life. At first I shivered uncontrollably. Then I stopped shivering and got sleepy, which really scared me. I thought up math problems to keep me awake, a trick I used to use while freight dogging late at night. When help arrived shortly after sunrise, I wasn't very lucid. I vaguely remember being airlifted out by helicopter. I spent nearly a week in the hospital with a concussion, dislocated shoulder, several fractured bones, lacerations, and hypothermia. Since then I've been on bedrest at home and haven't really been in any condition to post.

E) I discovered facebook. It's amazing how many of the hot girls I was afraid to talk to in high school are now on my high school network. I've been virtually stalking them for most of the last month. I don't care what old-timer facebook peeps say, thank God for News Feed!

F) I decided that I'm gonna go nuts sitting in the right seat for six or seven years so I've been looking at my options, and eventually decided on taking a leave of absence from my current company to go back to Ameriflight to fly the Metroliner for a year. Dawn and I are moving, but we're not sure where yet. I've been busy this month figuring out the details and preparing for the move.

G) I went to Toronto for the aviation blogger's conference but didn't tell any of the participants I was coming. Then I shadowed them to their mixers, dinners, and activities, stealthily gathering the information I need to successfully blackmail them. It was kinda tricky since I have my photo on my blog and Aviatrix has met me. I think the Groucho glasses and fake moustache did the trick, though.


Ross said...

Dude - I really hope it was A

Matt said...

Definitely E. Crackbook is way too addictive.

Anonymous said...

All of the above.

tom said...

I really REALLY hope it was A. And I really hope it was not F. Please don't string us along like this Sam, it's not fair. Please tell us.

My only concern is, if A were true, you probably wouldn't specifically tell us it was Delta, considering how hesitant pilots are these days to announce their employers on public blogs. Or would you?

Anonymous said...

I'd hope it's A too, and if you mentioned the airline I'd assume the blogging would cease.

B is certainly interesting

Considering how you feel about Portland and Dawn's job, I'd say you're not moving unless you got a better offer than F.

Dan said...

I'll go out on a limb and guess None of the above.

B is a good story - too good.

F seems most plausible.

We're waiting ...

LoadMasterC141 said...

I bet it was all of the above.
Its' a stretch to think you made it to Delta with no PIC Turbine time, but I know quite a few people now that have made it into Delta by reccomendation only lately. In fact, I know a guy from Peanuckle, 25 yrs old, 1 yr capt, made it in 6 months ago. He completed Mad Dog training and then he immediately qualified for FO on the 767. How cool to be 25 yrs old flying that size tin!

So anyway, yeah, I think you did all those things...Congrats dude!

Sam said...

Hahaha LoadmasterC141, it's a small world. I know D.J. also. Seems he's a minor celebrity in the aviation world these days!

Mind you he had 1700 turbine PIC. He talked to an ACP about a friend of ours that doesn't have TPIC, and the ACP said that their official requirements notwithstanding, they won't look at anyone without the 1000 TPIC.

Sorry guys, guess I just shot A down.

LoadMasterC141 said...

Man thats' too bad on A. I was really hoping it was true because you deserve it, plus I would relish the blogs you'd make from the flight deck of the big tin. Someday soon though I am sure! Glad to see you are back with us!

Also, I only know D.J. by his posts on Jetcareetrs actually, so I possibly overstated my association.


Anonymous said...

Since A is done, I'd say it's F, B, or D, in what I'd consider the best order.

Hopefully, it wasn't D, but if it was best wishes on a speedy recovery.

Fred said...

I wasn't in top gear when I read this and thought you'd had all those things happen to you! Incredulous, I scrolled back up and saw your instructions. Geez.

Glad you're back and hopefully, you didn't get in trouble in my town (Boise). They're bad, but they aren't quite that bad at the airport.



Anonymous said...

Oh gosh ... I know D.J. too.

Small world :)

Mostly Harmless said...

I'd say a combination of C and E, but that's mostly because I just discovered FaceBook as well.

B is by far the best story :-)

Congrats if it actually was A though!


the other sam said...

haha! Bummer it's not A...hopefully E or F? Regardless, it's good to hear from you again.

amulbunny said...

If it was "A" you'd not be blogging anymore or you'd go by King of the Sky, eh?

I hope that whatever kept you away from us gave you time to recharge your batteries and give us some more of your exploits.

If it was "B" well you know my feelings about thousands standing around.

clear skies and quiet air.