Tuesday, September 21, 2010

learning to fly—part two
starting to get past the crashing

Since the lost plane fiasco, I downloaded a number of articles on learning to fly electric RC planes as well as J. Carpenter’s eBook ‘Beginner’s Guide to flying RC airplanes’. $250 late but hey… I get to chapter 13 (!) titled, ‘Crashing’ and it starts off, ‘Crashing is all part of the hobby of radio control flying…’. I seem to recall James also alluding to this. Not exactly the best incentive to get one into the hobby.

James stopped by for a couple days on his way back to Rodeo. The first shot is him bringing my Radian in for a landing. Like I stated in the last flying entry, he’s an ace. But—he has not had a good summer. I didn’t see the Multiplex Easy Glider Pro he was flying when I first met him. I asked him about it—it got destroyed. I asked him about his Radian—he’s waiting for parts. The wings loosen up over time and he had masking tape wrapped around to ends to snug up the fit. Apparently not enough. On one flight—the wings fell off. He said it was pretty cool how they fluttered down. I then asked about his Multiplex Easy Star. On one flight he noticed smoke. Not good. The ESC (electronic speed control) caught fire. He was able to salvage some parts from the crash, however. He was presently flying a Dynaflite ‘Bird of Time’ with a 108” wingspan. It looked awesome up in the air since it was so big. You’re probably know what’s going to happen. Yep, it crashed. The battery died and all control to the plane was lost.
I’m beginning to see why this hobby is not all that popular.

A couple people from further up the valley found my first plane while they were out walking their dog. The sailplane was twice as far away as I had thought. It was nowhere near the grids I was working. The pieces were scattered probably 40’. This is what they looked like all gathered together. Only one wing was salvageable. I had put in a total of 5 hours looking for that sucker. At least I got in three Wait, Wait podcasts and one podcast of From the Top while searching so the time was pleasant. If the Radian didn’t look so cool as it is flying, I really would bag this costly endeavor.

My second Radian was getting trashed from all the crashes. The fuselage was repaired so often that I was no longer able to keep the nose straight. With the propellers pointing a bit to the left only made it all the more difficult to fly the plane. I ordered a new fuselage and transferred the parts. That was an experience.

The more I learn about RC planes on the web, the more daunting the task seems. Since crashing occurs EVERY time I attempt to fly, that’s what I have been researching (I won’t tell you what my running buddy said about that). A prime explanation for a crash is ‘flying beyond one’s current capabilities’. Since I do not have any capabilities when it comes to flying—this might explain it. Another cause might be ‘structural failure of a flying surface’. Nope, everything gets glued back together after each crash. Some really cool things I’m looking forward to are: ‘Radio failure’, ‘a servo linkage breaking’, ‘less than adequate battery levels’, ‘a stall too close to the ground’, and more ‘disorientation’. Disorientation happens when your plane gets too far away from you to see clearly, which direction it's pointing and exactly what it's doing. Yep, been there, done that, have the wreckage photo to prove it. Disorientation also happens if you fly directly over your head and behind you. As you look up and turn, your eye to brain communications can become momentarily ‘distracted’ as you lose all visual reference to everything. You suddenly lose track of what your plane is doing. This is all getting to sound like a joke.

It’s been my experience that the wrong input from me on the toggles at the wrong moment usually means one thing—The Walk of Shame—and upon reaching the impact zone—start the ceremonial and embarrassing collection of wreckage that was, only a few seconds earlier, my RC sailplane. I really need to get past this Crash-and-Burn stage.

At one point I finally realized, that realistically, I cannot possibly be crashing as often as I do. So I came to the only plausible conclusion— someone is camping off in the trees and shooting down my plane.

Well the good news is that I’m still only on my second Radian—haven’t lost or totally destroyed it yet. Can actually keep it in the air for a few minutes. But jeez is there a lot to learn.

Heading over to southern Utah for a few weeks. Back to sparse internet access.

September Night Sky—this constellation fits right inside the Milky Way. This is also the home of the ‘Dumbbell Nebula’. Some think it’s a cross. Others believe it’s a bird. Want to guess the constellation?
Cygnus, the Swan, is also known as the Northern Cross. Albireo is at the Swan’s head as it flies south. Albireo is not very bright, but it is a beautiful two-color double star. Easy to see with binoculars since it’s in the Milky Way. Clusters, clouds, and variable stars fill the field. Cygnus is also the location of another candidate for a black hole, Cygnus X-1.

Buy lemonade from any kid who is selling.
Give money to all street musicians.
Robert Fulghum

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

little beaver pow-wow, paige bridges art,
this and that, and cherishing each day

Some locals took me to the Little Beaver Pow-wow over in Dulce. Oh man, VERY impressive. The Grand Entrance when all the dancers came into the arena was absolutely fabulous. The mother/daughter competition was great. The styles varied quite a bit and I had no idea what the criteria was for each round of elimination. Thoroughly enjoyed everything I saw that evening.

When in my 5th wheel, I had a number of vintage travel trailer prints by Paige Bridges. She does absolutely stellar work. When I scaled down to my casita I had to acquire all new prints since the ones I had were too large. I have emailed Paige a few times over the years and she’s a wonderful person.

Check out this youtube clip about her.

Also check out her site.
Keep her boxes of Christmas cards in mind as the season approaches.

I took this shot out the back window one morning. With this lifestyle, one should look out the windows each morning before making any noise or turning on lights. Sometimes wildlife is pretty close.

I recently reread ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson. What a fabulous little book about changes in one’s life. Move with the cheese. Lent it to Siscily and she really enjoyed it. She is getting married next week and retiring from the NM park service in a few weeks. At this time, I don’t think it is possible for her to get the huge, bright smile off her face.

I emailed Lynn down in Bisbee about a new sticker I put on the casita—
‘Adventure before Dementia’.
She wrote back, ‘Well... some people might think YOUR form of adventure... wandering off on uncharted paths and living off the grid... IS a sign of dementia.”
I love having friends with a sense of humor.

On the way back from an errand trip to Pagosa Springs one day, I drove the Cherokee down some forest roads along rt84 looking for perspective places for some secluded camping with the casita. Found some places that would work for me. Passed some ‘campers’ sitting around with bug zapper rackets and a couple six-packs. Ya think I might be a bit too far off the grid? (^_~) Down the last forest road, I came across a Casita. Michael lives in Tucson and he was out and about for a few weeks with Toby. I’ll probably meet up with him for a day when I get down to Bisbee in March. He has a 2010 model. Sure is a lot shinier than my 2001.

I was weeding through some folders on my MacBook and came across this piece by Ann Wells, ‘A Story to Live By’—an old newspaper essay about loss and cherishing each day. The original title was, ‘What Special Someday Are We Saving For?’.

“My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package.
"This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie."
He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite: silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.
"Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least eight or nine years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion."
He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment. Then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.
"Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.
I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.
Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event--such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for a small bag of groceries without wincing.
I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends.
"Someday" and "one of these days" are fighting a losing battle to stay in my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing--I'll never know.
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with--someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write--one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them.
I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.
And every morning when I open my eyes I tell myself that this is a special occasion.“

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’