Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Four day weekend!

Lots of pictures in this one, so you can skip the words if you want. All photos by Spike (my dad).

I took Friday off and drove to Massachusetts to hang with my dad. I spent Friday with a mountain bike ride and then a fun time hanging out with my two-year-old niece. She's very vocal with a strangely large vocabulary.

Our main purpose was to visit the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome about 125 miles west in NY state and we left on Saturday Morning. The drive was okay, being mostly highway; as we were just driving and not motorcycling, we opted against a weekend with a longer, more scenic drive on back roads.

I can't really do the ORA justice. It's a perfect mixture of the cool and the cheesy. It's part museum, part airshow and part performance art. They have hangers full of planes and fly many of them. They also stage funny skits such as a 'convict', complete with striped suit, is chased by Keystone Kops to the end of the runway where he (or a dummy in the same suit) hitches a ride on a waiting plane. However, he falls off on take off plummeting to the ground. When the Kops arrive, and park near the body, it turns out he's okay and still struggling to escape. He's carted away, crying that he'll be back. The best part of the skits is that they are performed by high school and college age kids all of whom seemed to be having an absolute blast running around in period costume driving 80-year-old cars and trucks.

Anyway, we arrived early and spent a lot of time looking at the displayed aircfraft and wandering the museum hangers. This place has been around for nearly fifty years and they have more aircraft and cars than they can afford to refurbish. But, what they have is astounding. Not just the famous aircraft, but every kind of aircraft. Trainers, warplanes, civil, and mail planes. All from before WW2.

I'll just start with the highlight of the show, the Bleriot XI. This plane is only one of two original aircraft still in flyable condition. Just look at it and imagine flying this across 350 miles of ocean across the English Channel:

Did I mention that it's still flyable? A few feet of height and a few dozen meters of distance man not seem like much, but this is an original aircraft that was built in 1909!

Also on hand was a replica built in 1975 from original plans. It looks like something that Steampunk Batman would fly:

It also flew, but only to the height that the Bleriot did. But just look at how exposed the pilot is! How much would you want to fly a 90-year old design with only wing warping for control and a 30 hp engine for power?

Also on display (and flying Sundays) was an Albatros D.III. A warplane that looks as good as a piece of fine furniture.

The museum hangers held many wonderful things including a home-made ice boat thing made from a horse-drawn sleigh and an aircraft engine:

and, hanging from the curved ceiling/walls, over a dozen huge (at least five feet tall) paintings that were dated from 1969. There were very well done, but some were getting a bit eaten (see the left bottom):

and, in one glass case with some models, was the most awesome pulp magazine cover EVER.

A man-faced tiger leaping from one aircraft to another? How could that not be awesome. I wish I could read it.

We left six hours later, happy but hungry. Had to avoid trying to find a restaurant in the nearby town due to an immanent parade and drive for another hour before we found a place that was not sketch (the one we found was remarkably good, with a big menu of good food that was very well presented for a middle-of-nowwhere family restaurant).

Then at home, my dad and I drank Guinnes and watched Flesh for Frankenstein a singularly bad/good film that truly must be seen be believed. If Sam Rami didn't see this film as a youth, I'd be surprised.

A long, nice drive home on Sunday. Brought Sweet Enemy some sweet corn and some pizza.

Monday, not much of anything. Hung out. Read in the sun. Went trail running shoe shopping, scored some old Matchbox cars from a free box in downtown Burlington then hit the bookstore to grab sweet enemy her own copies of her new favorite series.


That is all!

Arkonbey out

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Well. That was a long time, wasn't it. I've been relatively busy. Work was hectic, had a week of 9+ hour days including one 11 hr day; we had a big demo and lots of presentations to get ready to show a client. What's nice is my boss and everyone in marketing I did stuff for was very appreciative and weren't shy about tell me. Embarrassing, but good.

On the home front, I've been working on Death of a Friend. I've posted five pages. Had to get some momentum going before I let you all know it was moving. I've done some code cleaning to the website, but nothing you'd notice, really (except now the pages don't jump when you re-size the browser window).

I've also been trying to do some fan art for P.S. 238. Actually, I'm doing it for two reasons. First as a thank-you for Aaron Williams making such a great comic. Secondly, to ease the blow when I write him to tell him that he's used 'dampen' and 'dampener' when he meant 'damp' and 'damper'. For a guy who often makes blog typos, I'm a stickler for grammar.

I'm also working on models and as soon as I find the long-missing digital camera, I'll post some photos.

Outside, it's wet, but our garden is doing okay. Most of the beans have survived the Slug Onslaught, though the squash were decimated. The radishes are coming up, and we have some tomatoes. Our peas were planted late and are only about two feet high now. Ah, well.

And, the big news is that, after many many times of missing or failing at Becca's movie quizes, I actually won with a tie! Yee! The funniest part? It was for quotes from the Harry Potter films, and since I've only seen one and three, I went with what I remembered from the books. I won't be getting the Movie Master anytime soon, but here's my award:

Well. I've got plans for updates. A movie review for the best indie movie you've never heard of, Arkonbey's Rule of Three for sports enthusiasts, and a description of the Adventure of the 4th of July Plans Gone Awry, but Working Out Great Just the Same.

Listening to while posting: Blue Monday by New Order (Eighties Goodness!)