A Fun Weekend.. Planned and Unplanned

I know I haven’t been posting much but life has been in the way. Busy all day with work, not much in my life to talk about other than work, work and more work. Life outside of work has been fairly routine, as per my new tshirt Eat, Sleep, Work, Run.. Repeat. But this weekend, Heidi & I had a pretty good time, some things planned, others not so much.

Saturday was the FHC Skyfair and since Heidi had to do some stuff for her Pacific North West History class, we decided Heidi’s first time at the Boeing Everett Factory was worth it. For me it was the third time this year (I think… might be more, I can’t remember) that I have been in the factory (twice on the floor, once in the roof). Heidi had never been to the factory before and I tried to not be a know it all as much as possible. Heidi had a good time, which is a great thing, because now she can’t complain when I go see planes (or drag her with me).

From Life in Seattle 2014

After the factory tour we headed over to the Windsock for some of the Warbird action as Plane of Fame in Chino had brought up their P-38 and their Corsair for the days activities. That is all I really wanted to see, so after they did their demos, we were about ready to leave when the Tigercat came out. I had mentioned to Heidi that the plane was named “Bad Kitty” which then meant that we had to stay. Heidi was determined I get a great picture of the nose art on the Tigercat. Heidi does love her kitties (apparently also the ones of the plane variety). I had given Heidi one of my cameras to use for the morning so she can get used to it when we head to Japan later in the year.

From Life in Seattle 2014

On Sunday we had absolutely no plans. Down to the fact that after waking up it was “Do we go to the gym or for a ride?” “I don’t know you decide” “I don’t know, you make a decision” (in the end we went to the gym). Funny thing was after heading to catch up with her dad at church (yes, I do go to church on occasion with Heidi, no you can’t judge me for it, no I don’t go because she drags me, I go willingly because Heidi appreciates that I do go with her) he offered to take us “Plinking”. I was so up for that! What is plinking? It is just target shooting with a small .22 Rifle. We headed way up into the State Forest up near Greenwater and it was pretty awesome!

From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014

The shooting was lots of fun. I didn’t hit many targets (then again none of us really did) but I did get a number of hits. We were shooting at paper cups, since they were easy to find and easy to recycle afterwards. There was a numerous amount of cups without any holes at all, which was dissapointing… kind of.

From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014

I would love to get out and do some more of that, but I know that will just end in a giant money hole. I already have one of those, it is called my camera. I don’t need another. So many comments about being hunted by Heidi’s dad with the gun or being taken out into the woods for a “conversation”. But nothing untoward happened and Heidi’s dad is pretty relaxed. It was a great time and something that I have wanted to do for a while.

All in all a pretty relaxed weekend. Looking forward to the upcoming week as it is Seafair and Marine Week all in the same week. I have some assignment work for Airline Reporter to finish and then I also have the MCAS Boeing Field stuff to write about. Looking to be a fun couple of weeks (I guarantee a few thousand photos to work on).

5 of 6 787-9s

Yesterday I managed to add the 4th of 5 flying 787-9s that are out and about in Seattle and around the world (only 1 has been delivered to Air New Zealand). So here they are:

#1: ZB001 – Boeing Test Flights (going to Air New Zealand Eventually)

From Seattle Spotting 2014

#2: ZB002 – Boeing Test Flights (going to Air New Zealand eventually)

From Seattle Spotting 2013

#3: ZB789 – Don’t have this one yet, but it will go to JAL (next on my hunt list)

#4: ZB197 – All Nippon Airways

From Seattle Spotting 2014

#5: ZB167 – United

From Seattle Spotting 2014

#6: ZB003 – Air New Zealand – ZK-NZE – All Blacks Livery (Already Delivered)

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Hiking Time!

On Sunday Heidi took me for my first Hike in the PNW. Something that she really enjoys to do, and something I rarely do but can and will do (or more like should do), hiking is something we talked about, but never got around to doing until now. Wanting to avoid the crowds, since it’s July and it’s blue outside, we headed to a trail that was recommended to us by Heidi’s dad. Otter Falls was the destination but the guide book didn’t tell us of the fact that we were not looking for the “Otter Falls” trail but the “Snoqualmie Lake” trail.

Either way, we had a good time, but rather than bore you with details of “We Walked through trees without too much of a problem” (ok we did get lost a bit at the start) here are the pictures instead:

From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014
From Life in Seattle 2014

Clumsy Mal

How is it that after running for over 3 years now and not falling over at all, after endless kilometres that I wake up this morning and when I am about 3/4 way through my run (about 1.5km from home) I stack it? I am a clumsy person, I am covered in scars and burns and cuts and abrasions, but till now, I had not stacked it at all. I managed to this morning fall flat on my face but I got up within 1 second and kept going as though everything was fine (dripping blood down my leg though). I tripped on a small piece of pavement that I ran over last week without a problem, so what the hell is wrong with me!

When I was training for Kokoda, I fell over countless times while trekking up and down Mt Cootha. There was not a session that went by where I was not flat on my ass at least once, and it was as though the training was not complete till I had stacked it somehow. Many a time on Kokoda itself I was expecting to go head first down a mountain. I think one of my problems is my lack of balance, I can’t even stand up straight without almost falling over sometimes, so how can I expect to be able to run without a problem?

I don’t know how badly this fall this morning is going to effect my running (my knee is currently strapped up to ensure that the chunk missing doesn’t go all over my jeans today at work) but hopefully I can keep going. Guess who is going to be doing weights in the gym tonight…

THIS GUY!!!!!

*** Funnily enough, I was wearing my Kokoda shirt this morning during my run. So maybe it was just a Kokoda fall come back to haunt me? ***

Finally Completed!!!

On Friday night on the 4th of July (which that day deserves a whole other post on its own) I finally managed to finish off all photos from my trip to Anchorage at the end of May. Yes I said May… it has seriously taken over a month to get all of these done. Mind you I did move houses in that time, so the house move did have priority, however it still took a decent amount of time. I was working on photos during my lunch breaks from work remotely. I was working late into the night some nights just continuously working on photos. In the end I culled down the 7500 photos I took, down to 368 photos in the finished album. That is around a 5% ratio, which while lower than my normal, well it is better than nothing. Now that I have all of them on my site, there is the daunting task of getting them up on Aviation Photographic, so Kevin (the owner) will have a rough time going through them all once I get them uploaded. But no more talk… Avgeek Porn time!

From Anchorage Spotting

A China Southern 777F having water sucked into its engine while it waits for its turn to take off

From Anchorage Spotting

An Everts Cargo DC-6 getting ready for takeoff

From Anchorage Spotting

The Alaska Starliner, more commonly known as the Retro Livery. I have chased this thing since i caught my first glimpse in 2009!

From Anchorage Spotting

A Condor 767 taking off in front of the Anchorage Mountains

From Anchorage Spotting

A G650, what I can easily say is a stunning example of a Business Jet

From Anchorage Spotting

A Southern Air 747-400F with a Beacon flashing while it turns onto the Active.

Want more? Full folder can be found here

Anchorage Spotting

Life Updates – Busy/Lazy Mal

Boy what a week. I haven’t been posting much as of late due to work & life. The big move is all over (thank God!) and I am slowly settling into my new apartment in Renton. I love the new place but since last Friday I have had the worst luck ever.

Let’s roll back to this time last week. I was heading back to the old place last Friday to clean up the apartment & do some stuff to hand the keys back. Well that was all well & fine, but I left so many things behind. I was going to “feed the bird” while I was up there since I had no TV & no Internet to keep me entertained in an empty apartment (sleeping on the air mattress was interesting enough) but I left the Bluebird card at home. I also left all my tools, several cleaning items and probably my brain as well.

Saturday was hell on earth. The cleaning took forever & just generally was tedious & a giant waste. I shampooed the carpets with a “Rug Doctor” that we hired & cost us about $50 all up, and took over an hour & a half to do the apartment. Only to find out that the apartment complex’s rules were if it wasn’t done professionally, they charged you to do it again, even if it was spotless. Should have just not wasted my time & let them charge me.

Saturday also was horrendous in the morning. While out for a failed attempt at getting a photo of FiFi, the world’s only flying B29, in the air my camera broke…. Big time. It was resting on the side of the bed of my truck driver for the first time ever, just took a topple off the top. The camera split at the mounting point & my life seemingly broke with it. I prayed to god that it could be fixed. Taking it to a camera store on Sunday (since I didn’t end up having time on Saturday) they managed to save the lens, with no damage, but the camera will require extensive repairs. So there’s a new expense :(

So fast forward to Tuesday night. Just locking up for the night, about to go to bed. I turn the lock in the door from the inside and rather than stopping when the bolt is in place the knob just snaps &  keeps on turning! I am now locked inside my own apartment, late at night and in a new area. Joy!  I managed to dismantle the lock enough to open it and allow myself to actually get out, but the lock was pretty much toast.  It couldn’t be used & was practically worthless. I called the apartment emergency line (still waiting for that call back) and left a message, then I called a locksmith. All while texting Heidi with a general theme of “What the hell just happened & what do I do!”  I was working blind but eventually close to 11pm the locksmith came, gave the official death certificate for the lock, replaced it & headed out.

Not enough drama for the week? Never! Wednesday night I received a new credit card to the apartment. It was delivered to the office but since I wanted to get it ASAP, so I could make minimum spend (New camera to buy remember, although that will be a future post), I stupid asked them to leave the package at my door so I could grab it when I get home. No package though when I do.

No one to blame but me, as it was left & was either taken or perhaps mistook for trash & thrown out, but after confirming with the office Thursday my worst fears, I  had to call the credit card company to cancel the card to replace it, before it was even activated! Sigh! At least they are overnighting the replacement to me (this time to my work address) so I can use it.

Hopefully this weekend will see a better improvement in life. I am flying down to San Diego tomorrow morning at Sparrows Fart (or as Heidi calls it “the ass crack of dawn”) for the first time. Flying stand by on passes will be an interesting article I think, especially booking stuff on the fly. Car, hotel etc all while at 35000ft. Bring on the travel and hopefully some better luck!

Moving….. pt 1

So over the weekend I packed up my apartment and with the help of Dan, David, David, Temo & of course Heidi. I moved from the North end of town, to the South End of town. It was quite the adventure but went actually a lot easier than I expected. I had figured that it would take most of the day, but David (DPB) brought with him the other David & Temo and that made things so much easier. DPB was also driving the Uhaul that I rented and that really helped me get things working.

I moved down to Renton for a number of reasons:

1. To be closer to Heidi
2. It is closer (in relative distance) to work
3. To be closer to Heidi
4. Rent was going up, had to move anyway
5. Community Transit (the bus line run by Snohomish County) is crap and I wanted out
6. To be closer to Heidi

Funny thing is the place I moved to was an apartment complex I looked at a couple of years ago when I first moved here, but it has been improved since. The first morning I checked out the gym (after the really quick tour when we went to look at it) was me falling in love all over again. The gym was amazingly set up and after a day of moving stuff around, something different sounded good.

The funny thing with the moving day, was when I moved into my old apartment, it rained that morning. Wake up on Saturday morning up in Bothell. Well it was raining! Tradition continues!! But it stopped raining and we managed to empty the apartment fairly quickly. With that the procession of two cars, a truck and a uhaul headed south. Even though when we arrived they didn’t have any “carts” (trolleys to us Australian’s) to borrow (4 other apartments were moving in that day) 4 guys and 1 girl easily moved everything into the apartment in a relatively quick time frame. I was suprised just how quickly it went.

After getting some beer & pizza as the traditional american moving payment, the uhaul truck procession headed back north to drop off the uhaul and i headed back to the apartment for a secondary load of other random stuff. By the end of the weekend all of my stuff was moved in and the apartment is in relatively decent shape (liveable at least).

I still have a bit of a way to go for the apartment to grace the pages yet (nothing on the walls really, plenty of boxes still to be unpacked) but it is getting there. When it is all up and running I will definitely post some pictures, because the apartment is much better than I anticipated.

Trip Report – To the Last Frontier: Conclusion

Introduction
Seattle to Anchorage
Anchorage
Anchorage to Seattle
Conclusion

                                                                                                                                                                      

My trip to Alaska was something I desperately needed on many levels. I had a big yearning to fly as so far this year up until this trip, I had flown 0 miles. For someone who flew over 60,000 miles last year, I was desperate. I just wanted to get up there again. This trip also allowed me to tick Alaska off my state list. Even though it was only a short trip, it allows me to plan on heading back there in the future.

Even though the weather was crap for most of the time, I still enjoyed myself. I stuck it out in the rain for a good portion of the day and just kept taking photos. I would have done the same back here, had I still been in the city (speaking of which I missed a test flight of the Air New Zealand 787-9 because I was playing around in the rain, I just can’t get that thing!).

The flight up was down right horrible (thanks to a crappy crew who didn’t seem to care and also the delay and the WiFi issue (All of which I have made complaints about, but nothing so far). The flight back though was the total opposite, so how United can get away with being Day & Night differences, I don’t know. But it also shows that any airline can be good or bad. United gets a bum wrap at times, and this time I can’t really fault them all that much for the return flight. Having an entire row of 6 to myself, exit row as well! Can’t be all that bad.

The hotel in Anchorage did it’s job. It wasn’t flash or luxurious, but it was close to the airport and exactly what I needed to get me through. I wouldn’t ask for anything more than a clean room, a gym, WiFi & some parking. Anything more than that is just more frosting on the cake.

All told I took over 7588 photos of just planes over the weekend. The processing of these is going to take some time, that is for sure. I don’t quite know how long but I usually budget about 10% of photos taken, make it out of the cull. What does that really mean… I am going to be working on these for quite some time!

The Final Commutes

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know that I complain a lot in the morning or evenings. Generally this disdain & unhappiness is generally pushed in one direction, Community Transit. Who are they? They run the bus services from Everett to Bellevue & in my general area. They are heavily trafficked, but extremely lax at times. They also have to deal with the 405 which is the worst Highway known to man kind.

So this week is my final week of commuting southbound on the 405 and I am happy about it too. Saturday I start the moving process as I pack up & head south to my new home in Renton (will post more next week on the new place). I can’t wait to get rid of dealing with Community Transit, the 405 Southbound in the morning, the badly planned SR522 interchange and continuous road works, but most of all I am looking forward to a single bus commute.

No more hurry up & wait, no more standing around, hoping a bus will connect properly (they don’t), no more giant Park & ride hassles. I will be sad to see some of the eye candy dissappear (the Russian looking girl, Miss Hooker Heals, and the infamous blonde with the ring) but maybe the new bus will bring new things. I know it  bring me one thing, less stressful commutes!