Avionicsman's Blog

Life and Times of me!!

Happiest feeling!!

For the most part as we get older we simply forget. We forget the happiness and the wonder we had as a child. We thankfully don’t remember about the stresses we have ahead of us as a child. Things like pre-school, K-12 school, college, jobs, love, life and even the immediate girl coodies/boy coodies!! I happened to be doing some travelling recently and was pleasantly reminded how beautiful a child’s smile was as they were looking at their parent, the child was no more than 2 and had the biggest glow in their eyes. Totally fixated on their parents face. It was as if the child was about to let the parent know some deep thought about the troubles within the world economy and how it might make a good doctoral thesis. No that didn’t happen, what did happen was the child looked at their parent closed their eyes and leaned into the parent kissed them on the cheek and proceeded to fall asleep. What really dug into me was the simple expression of happiness on the child eyes. Just that feeling of being held and loved, the child knew there was no immediate danger, the despair of coodies were still a few years away yet. So why this post? See, that child reminded me of how my now 12 year old quickly grew up. Yes I know I still have a long way to go and the teen years are still coming, so shut it. My point to all this old man rambling is to get us to think back to when your child looked at you with the same wonderment and smiles at you if to say just to say thanks for loving me. For any parent, go root through and old album or iPhoto album for those parents younger than me and find those precious pictures of your child asleep on you and if you don’t have any take some, of course this is awkward if you child is a teenager or in their twenties but ask if you must. Put that picture on your desk, fridge or phone, yes even my mother at 69 years old has an iPhone 5 so you can do it too. Whenever you need a pick me up look at that picture and maybe it will brighten your day, well except for those coodies!!

Cheers everyone

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February 25, 2013 Posted by | Stories | , , , , , | Leave a comment

For Empire Avenue

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This Blog is to acknowledge that Empire Avenue can upgrade my account to Blog status from RSS feed.

 

That being done I have to say the social networking game Empire Avenue is my new addiction. It is a great way to see if you have social media savvy. A you start out you buy shares in other members and your wealth begins to grow. Eaves is the currency and is worth nothing in the real world but in Empire Avenue it means everything. Twitter, Facebook, Flicker, YouTube are all ways of you creating more “eaves” currency. Which allows you to buy shares in more members which also pays more “eaves” back to you.  There is lots of forum help so you wont get to frustrated and is a fun little distraction to say the least.

 

Enjoy!!

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To Brazil and Back

As an Avionics Lead I’m usually am the one organizing trips for my technicians to go on, but since we have had a shortage in technicians as most had come back from trips and needed a break, I figured it was my time to go out and see what a work trip was like. Besides I was one of the few ones with a Brazilian approved work visa so I guess I didn’t have much choice.

This particular job had been accomplished already on a previous helicopter that we had at our main hangar in Boundary Bay. So this modification was to be completed in Macae Brazil at one of our bases there. I hope you enjoy my story.

Well it all starts with a flight out of Vancouver on a cool morning.

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I had upgrade my flight to biz class to get through the line up quicker with less stress and for the leg room I needed. ( it was only $150 for the upgrade, well worth it). The upgrade also allowed me to enjoy the benefits of Continental Airlines presidential lounge at Houston Texas as I had a 7.5 hour layover till my connecting flight to Rio de Janerio.

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The flight to Rio was a 10.5 hour trip and I didn’t get to upgrade to biz on this leg, although I did pay for extra leg room which may of meant something to someone if they were under 6 feet tall. At 6’5″ the extra leg room only meant I could get out of my seat without giving the guy next to me a lap dance!

My tech and I arrive in Rio around 9:30am Sunday morning and got through Brazil customs with no worries as we do have all the right visas. We pick up are bags and the first thing I notice is that my TSA approved lock has been tampered with. I take a quick peak inside and it appears that everything in my tool box is still there so we head out to arrival area to find our company provided taxi. Hmmmm, the taxi guy is not there?? So a few phone calls to the executive secretary in Rio and the tech manager at the base in Macae our taxi driver finally arrives an hour later.

Side story. There are three of us heading to the base in Brazil, myself and the other avionics tech flew on Continental and the third mechanic flew on American Airlines. We were all dew to arrive in Rio within a half hour of each other. On our arrival and taxi fiasco we realized that the mechanic’s plane had not arrived yet and wasn’t due to get to Rio until that evening now. We scheduled a taxi for him and got in ours and off we drove to Macae Brazil.

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As I said before always remember to look up.

Well we get to Macae and into our hotel and everything is as it should be. The hotel Internet seems to work okay (really how did we ever get by without Internet) and the rooms are very nice. The tech manager picks us up and takes us to a place near for some beers and we discuss how the modification to the helicopter is coming and what we are going to try and accomplish.

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Monday morning we head to work and see our awaiting prize in an already state of disrepair.

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Even though I am the senior member on this trip it was the plan all along to have a my Avionics tech really run the show and I would just put my head down and work. Okay I was always available to discuss the business matters but other than that it was Jordan’s show.

It is always good to put the biggest guy in the smallest place so I would live in the tail boom and electrical bay for the next three weeks.

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The job was to remove the non used equipment and install an AC system and some other safety items and the net weight increase would be nil or even less.

We worked 6 days the first week at 10 hours a day took Sunday off to given your body and mind a break then pressed on till we ran out of parts or were exhausted and needed another day off. Well it was always the parts that stopped us but that is a whole other blog.

I did manage to go on a test flight for another helicopter we had operating there and clicked a few pictures from the flight.

This was the peninsula of Buzios it is the resort spot of Brazil

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Our hotel on the test flight back

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My favorite mountain in Macae.

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As I said getting parts into the country is a large problem and the Brazilian rules are very strict so at one point we pretty much ran out of stuff to do. We had enough little items to get us through the third Saturday but we decided to take a day and go see Buzios as we were told the beaches there were fantastic. We headed out after work on Saturday and spent the night at a little hotel in Buzios and were not disappointed with the waves and beaches at all.

Geriba beach has the some of the best surfing waves.

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We had some great times body surfing and finally left the beach in the mid afternoon and headed back to Macae and work for Monday.

Monday turned out to a great day as most of the parts we needed arrived and gave several items to finish off so power could be applied. We did the continuity checks and power on checks and that pretty much wrapped up my last week in Macae.

Finished rear pallet

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Next stop before going home Rio de Janeiro.

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Well what can be said about Rio that hasn’t been said many times before? The place is all hustle and bustle. I was very glad to have a driver navigate the streets to our hotel.

With some time to kill in Rio before my flight home Saturday evening I thought I would knock off the tourist things while I was here. Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) and Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) here I come.

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Well they are as you would expect – incredible to see in person.

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With the touristy things completed it was off to the airport and take my night flight back home. Odd thing, when I arrived in Houston for my connecting flight my exiting gate was right next to the gate where my Vancouver flight was waiting. However I had to traverse through the entire airport to clear customs then head back the area I just left!

Incoming B767 and outgoing B737 rides!

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Hope you enjoyed the trip

Stay tuned round two “Back to Brazil” is coming

cheers everyone

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Aviation, Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

J. Edgar Lansing 1939 – 2009

My dad was my hero and he didn’t even know it. I never got to tell him that and it still hurts to think I missed that opportunity. My father passed away very unexpectedly one year ago. It was an “Aortic Aneurism” the surgeon said, and it happened within hours, there was no chance of survival.  My dad was too young to die at 69 but he did have a great life and out lived his own father by some 55 years. This does give me a glimmer of hope that I may make it to 80 at least.

My dad!!

Dad I love you and miss you still.

April 23, 2010 Posted by | Stories | 12 Comments

Flight Test #1 The Texas Takeoff!! YEEHAAAA!!

Disneyland, Disneyworld, Six Flags: they are all great amusements parks and have some heart pounding rides. The test flights that I have been on put them all to shame; this is one such ride!!

It was a late spring afternoon and we had completed some major Avionics upgrades and regular maintenance items on our customers Lockheed JetStar.

This was the actual JetStar I flew in. Thanks to Airliners.net for all the pictures

The owners pilots jumped onboard with our Avionics Manager, myself and their Chief mechanic. They fired up all 4 engines and we rolled away from the hangar down to the compass swing area where I had to sight the aircraft in for proper compass heading (this is a mandatory item that must be completed after any major modification).  With the compass swing complete, I jumped back into the jet and we got our clearance from CYVR for our test flight.  As we taxied to position I was looking out the right side cabin windows and off in the distance was a Canadian Airlines Boeing 767 turning onto final and setting up for his landing approach on OUR runway.

Canadian 767 on final

We continued our roll onto the runway and turned and got ready to launch our plane into the wild blue yonder. That is when an odd thing happened. Instead of continuing our roll down the runway and lifting off, the chief pilot turned then slowed and stopped on the runway and applied the parking brake. I looked forward out the cockpit windows and there was a small commuter plane already taking off, but he was airborne and turning right, so why were we stopped again? There was still that 767 on final and approaching at a closing rate of around 225 knots (260 mph roughly) wasn’t there? At best I could calculate that the 767  would be on top of us in approximately 45 seconds, but there we were stopped on runway 08R!!

With the parking brake still engaged the captain told us to sit back in the chairs and “hold on”!!  He pushed all four throttles forward to max power (in aviation we can this fire-walling) and the JetStar sat there shuddering under the strain of four Garrett 731-3 engines pushing 3500 lbs of thrust each.

The cockpit layout, the throttles are the 4 levers on the center pedestal

With what seemed like a true eternity we sat there, the big ole’ Biz jet trembling to hold still. Then I could see from my leather wrapped seat the captain standing on the brake pedals and releasing the park brake, we still didn’t move. The captain and the copilot were pressing hard on the brake pedals holding this mammoth jet back from jumping straight in the air. I was still wondering where the hell that 767 was in proximity to us.  That is when I thought I heard the captain counting? Had he been counting down from 10? The next instant hit me hard. My head slammed back into the beautifully re-cushioned head rest hard enough that my next view was that of the reading lights above me.

Awesome biz seats in the JetStar!! Very comfy!!

I quickly regained my senses enough to look out the cabin window to my right and the ground was already whizzing by and the clacking of the tires crossing the expansion joints on the runway surface was steadily increasing in frequency. I couldn’t see the airspeed indicators in the cockpit from my seat but the cabin display was reading 95 knots (110 mph ) already and I think only 5 seconds had gone by. Only a few more seconds ticked by and the jet departed terra firma, the landing gear stretching out as to make one last grasp towards the ground the tires making their final thump. Airborne and not at routine climbing rate either!! I guess the pilots got their NASA certification before we left cause our rate of climb on the vertical speed indicator was 5,000 ft/min which was max on those indicators. Which for this old bird was extremely fast.  The Altimeter wound it way through 9,000 ft and I could see the Captain push back on the control column and we slowed are climb to allow for more speed. I unbuckled my seat belt and walked up hill to the cockpit to see what our Avionics Manager was doing in the jump seat. He was programming the new Flight Management System (FMS) we had installed and integrated into the Autopilot and navigation systems. We made a series of step climbs to our final altitude of 25,000 ft and as we leveled out the mechanic and I did our cabin inspections while our Avionics manager gave an inflight briefing of the FMS system to the pilots.  I wasn’t really paying attention to the direction but I would look out the cabin windows from time to time and see if I could guess where we were according the mountains and water now far below me. I knew we were over Vancouver Island as I could see Victoria through the broken clouds we were now above.

As the pilots cut the throttles back to cruise speed the high pitch drone of the 4 engines quiteted enough to make the cabin a bit more pleasant and I could actually talk to the mechanic without raising my voice too much. I looked out the left side cabin window and could see Port Angeles Washington in the distance behind me and the edge of Washington state was just appearing ahead of me. That is when the mechanic asked me if I could hear the hissing sound. Hmm hissing at 25,000 ft was not a good noise but not always bad. Sometimes the Galley sink valve doesn’t close and the air rushes out the drain. That wasn’t it. The right hand emergency exit door seal was leaking and it was getting louder. We had just turned to tell the crew about the leak when the seal failed “POP”, the squealing became so intense like 10,000 nails on a chalkboard! My head erupted with the worst headache I has ever felt. The cabin was pressurized for 6000 ft but when I made my way up front I could see that it had jumped to 9500 ft and was increasing slowly still. The outflow valves which regulate the air in the cabin must have slammed shut in order to preserve what little cabin pressure there was left in this leather and ultra suede death tube.  The pilots were on it like the professional crew that they were and pushed the nose of the airplane over and we began to descend over Vancouver Island heading back to Vancouver and CYVR. I couldn’t see anything out the cockpit window or cabin window as passed through a large cloud bank during our emergency descent. The next thing that struck me as odd was the pilots and copilot attitude indicator (that is the indicator from the cockpit picture above directly over the control columns). They were nose down and a hard right  turn.

Typical attitude indicator

This is what our indicator looked like - nose down hard right turn.

The most unnerving part was I couldn’t feel the turn! You know when you are in your car and you turn a direction your body feels the centrifugal force and you are pulled opposite the direction of the turn you are in? I COULDN’T FEEL THE TURN OR DESCENT!! Was my head in so much agony because of the sudden change in cabin pressure that I was losing my sense of gravity? It wasn’t until we broke through the clouds and I could see the ground actually matched the attitude indicator, I realized then that my body was actually working properly and my equilibrium was still intact. The pilots had made the smoothest emergency descending turns ever!! I really couldn’t feel a thing. My head was still pounding and I looked back at the altitude indicator and it read 12,000 ft and we had crossed over Parksville BC already so I knew we were getting a straight in approach and we would be back on the ground in 10 minutes so this anxiety of my first ever decompression at altitude would be over soon. I sat back in the my cabin seat next to the emergency door seal that had “let go” and the squealing that had once been unbearable was now just a slight hiss and lessening as we descended lower to home. The headache was still in full force but bearable. As we crossed over the fence and touched down on the runway, where only 30 minutes earlier we blasted off from, I did have a sigh of relief. Then a small panic as a couple firetrucks’ and emergency vehicles had come out to greet us on our arrival. They must have been bored at the firehall, because the captain did not request a Mayday, he only informed the tower we lost cabin pressure and were returning to the airport. As we taxied back to the Hangar with our entourage of safety vehicles following behind like little ducklings it was nice to roll to a stop and open the cabin door, lower the airstairs and place my feet firmly back on the mother earth. I wasn’t in a life threatening situation on this test flight, although I should have brought a change of underwear just because. The cabin had never reached a low-level oxygen situation as the cabin masks did not deploy. This was something I know  proficiently as I had tested the system the day before. Two tears later one of my golf idols, Payne Stewart and the Learjet he was flying in would suffer this cabin depressurization and sadly all would perish.

I still love flying and going on test flights, though now I give the younger technicians opportunity to have something to remember. A year later I would go on a roller coaster ride at 15000 ft. But that is another blog!!

AvionicsMan

Ya I know I had hair!! And I guess I was 10 ft tall too!!

March 16, 2010 Posted by | Aviation, Stories, Uncategorized, Vancouver Blogger | 3 Comments

And the light switches went “Click”!!

So I was asked by Leslee Horner to write a blog for her “click” contributors. You know the hallways with the light switch at either end? Keep this in mind and I hope you enjoy one of many “click” moments

Working for the Big Airline company isn’t all that it is made out to be. Yes there is the benefit of cheap flights, but when you only have a couple years seniority it doesn’t matter you ain’t getting on! The good flights to anywhere warm are booked and the seniority list is deep with the 20 to 25 year employees taking the last of the seats in the back. 2003 was starting to look pretty good for aviation in Canada, the 9/11 hell was beginning to fade and people were starting to travel again. By this  time I had survived 3 layoff attempts and was starting to feel somewhat secure. I probably should have “clicked” right there, but I am a guy we are somewhat slow at times on the upswing! Well as I was saying things were looking up (yes an aviation pun)! I had just been accepted on a Boeing 737NG course (600-900 series of aircraft) and was excited to have that endorsement in my back pocket. We completed the first 3/4 of the course at our base facility and the rest was to completed at the Renton Wa. facility. Nearing the end of the simulator training we all got the news our company had filed for bankrupcy protection.  The weird thing was all of our first reactions were HOLY CRAP who is paying for this course!!  After we all calmed down and the more senior mechanics called the office and the union leadership I understood what this meant,  time to beef up the resumé.  It was odd that the airline would announce their bankrupcy on April 1 though!! A layoff notice was handed to me upon my return to Vancouver and the next day it was recinded as I was one of only a few with that type endorsement. Next came a forced transfer from heavy maintenance to line maintenance with the final axe falling in September of 2003.

On goes the light switch “click”

I had always kept my fingers on the pulse of the private sector of aviation, so with a colleague, I ventured into the difficult world of general aviation and became a co-owner of an Avionics company as of November 2003. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into that company for 3 years. There was a WWII hangar that housed several companies at the airport we wanted to be at, so we took possession of some open shop space and walled in an office and stores area from that. It may not have been a change in career direction but it was a huge change in comfort level.  As we were getting ready to open our doors to the public I had a huge fear that I would not be able to find enough demand for our services and we would be closed down as quick as we opened up. I am glad to say that we  managed to crawl, then walk along for 3 hard-working years. Self employment is not to be taken to lightly. It is a wonderful way to manage your own career, but unless you are in a high demand field you better be ready for some dry spells. In the private sector of aviation in Canada there are certainly some dry spells. As with any small company we had our share of ups and downs. Several of our loyal customers came back for more upgrades, we expanded enough to hired a couple of apprentices too. I got into a few verbal arguments with a couple clients about the safety their aircraft, one even threatened a lawsuit. Our company was fortunate enough to do some consulting which resulted in a few trips Pago Pago Samoa. One day we had this job to do for a local aviation company, assisting them with some paperwork issues, when they approached us and asked if we would be interested in working for them. I remember my partner and I debating for a few hours on the pros and cons but when the final decision was made and with guarantees that our apprentices would come with us, we closed the doors on our business.

Off goes the light switch “click”

In aviation the smaller companies only “exist” and very few grow to anything substantial. Many are happy to walk along in their own little fiefdom and not grow at all. This was not what we wanted to do! The writing for us was on the wall when we made our decision to close the doors. I will always hold my head high knowing that I succeeded (yes we had a higher gross profit every year) and got out of ownership just as the aviation sector tumbled yet again. I am happy I had my time as an owner, I am grateful that it provided me a opprotunity to be where I am today. I am still following my love for aviation and I will be around it forever. I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams or loves, it does keep you happy.

Tod aka AvionicsMan

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Stories, Uncategorized, Vancouver Blogger | 1 Comment

Valentines Day!! Maybe I should say $$

You know I love Valentines Day. I can remember as an elementary school kid in grade 3 or 4 going around handing out my little cards to all the kids in my class. I had always hoped to get one special one from that girl who sat one row over and two desks up. I did get one from her but it was the same as the one from the girl who annoyingly sat right behind me and flicked her pencil at me. My good friend who was in the other class would get all the cards from his class and a bunch from the girls our class and some from the grade above and even a couple from the grade below??!! He was “the popular one” of course, but I was 4 inches taller than him so he can kiss my ass! I digress. As a kid I never understood that the bulk pack of cards that our parents got us cost much. I can only remember the laborious task of filling out the “To: Amy from: Tod” or “To: Nicklaus From: your friend Tod” Ya I know, I was so original in my writing skills.

 

Nowadays, at least from a parents perspective Valentines is all about the commercialism. Even the add-ins though Wikipedia say that “It’s considered one of the Hallmark holidays.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine’s_Day So goes the dollars and cents of it. Yes I have bought plenty of flowers and sweets for the big February day and I still will. Even if the chocolate is for me!! I can only hope that I can instill in my kid the reason for valentines is that it shows love and compassion to our friends.

 Yes I will get my kid some cards so she can hand them out to all her friends. But not that boy in the other class! He gets cards from everyone including the grades above and below!!  Although I see his buddy in my daughters class is about 4 inches taller than him and he sit one row over and two seats back from her. I am going to make sure she give him a special card……

February 2, 2010 Posted by | Stories, Uncategorized, Vancouver Blogger | 6 Comments

The end of a year….. Hell end of a decade!!

WOW!! 2009 is coming to a close already. Our first completed decade of the new millennium (providing no buttons are pushed between now and Jan 1)!! To sound as cliché as possible it does seem like yesterday that is was 1999. Holy crap a lot has changed in 10 years.  Here is my decade in review:

Had a kid! (Girl, my little pumpkin)

Changed jobs! (off to try the Big Airline show)

Lost Job, started my own company (A lot of hard work but worth it)

Separated/Divorced (She wanted someone who had more money, so she went out and got one)

Met new gf and got engaged (she actually thinks I am funny. I love you for that Teri)

Shut my company down to work for current employer (lets face it the private sector is tough, but it got me the job I have now so it was still worth it)

My dad died (this will be a whole other blog)

Got married (Finally we are married, it was a great day! It will be part of the blog above)

My father-in-law dies (I really wanted to get to know him better)

Here we are all caught up and ready for the excitement 2010 will bring!! How was your decade?

My pictures of the decade that was:

My Pumpkin

My company after leaving the big show

The ex conveniently cropped out !!!

Teri-Lyn I love you!! (She actually does think I am funny!!)

Me and my co-worker Brad on S-76 helicopter course!!

My dad!!

Got'er dun!!!

The father-in-law I wanted to get to know more!!

So that brings us to this!!!!

Okay new year… New decade….BRING IT!!

Love you all!!

Tod

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Stories, Uncategorized, Vancouver Blogger | 13 Comments

The Joy of looking up!!

That old psychological question always looms large when I watch people “are you a heads up and walking proud person or do you look at the ground afraid to make eye contact?” At 6’5″ I do look down too for safety reasons.  That is not really what I am asking though. I want to know when is the last time you all really looked up? I mean above eye level. Really Look Up!!

Do you remember the stars?

The blue sky?

The birds soaring?

Have you ever just stood there and let the sun just soak into you face for a minute?

Look at the how the cities skyscrapers really do scrape the sky, or how the mountains can be so majestic!

This is what I mean about looking up! I think many of us look down to much, we need to look up a little more. Just take a minute, the view could be spectacular! Everyone tells me I am a pretty positive person. Sure I still have some down moments too.  I find I tend to shake it off quickly if I do one simple thing, look up! The wife and I got a car with a power moon roof  a couple of years ago. I swear I never have looked up as often as I do now (not when I am driving of course). I pull up to a stop light and I would look up, sunny day or rainy day didn’t matter it was just an interesting ability to look up and see something you never pay attention to. After my dad’s death this past April I look up even a little more.  It may not work for anyone but me, but if you want to try it by all means go for it! It may make your day a little better whatever the situation is in your life.

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Stories, Uncategorized, Vancouver Blogger | 18 Comments

And just like that the Christmas Season has slapped me in the face again!!

Wow it is the 2nd of December already!! CRAP this means I have to now think about shopping for shit again. I really want to slap myself and get it all done in September of something, but that would be like getting you essays done a week before they were due!! I NEVER did that at high school or college or university.  Some of my best C+ and B work came from the previous 2 nights of Jolt Cola  fueled (ya there was no red bull then, I am that old) essay machine writing stupid man I was. So back to shopping I go!! I have my lists and out the door I go into these crazy people packed malls and big box stores I hate so much.

 I really hope I don’t go postal on granny as she cuts me off in line and runs over my feet with that stupid electric scooter that the lazy bitch doesn’t need anyway. WALK!! GET SOME EXCERCISE BITCH!!

Crap it is already starting and I’ve only started on the blog!! Haven’t left the safety of my computer yet.  

You know the wife and I talk about just shopping online…( you know I think this web thing is going to catch on!!)  Someday I will have enough common sense to take her up on the idea. But then I would miss that bitch and her scooter!!

Well only 23 more days till I open my presents under the tree and get my socks/underwear and breathe another sigh of relief …. Christmas 2009 is over!!

I wonder what scooter bitch got??

Have a great Christmas everyone (all 5 of you that read this)… No really I mean it!! Seriously I do!!  To all 5 of you..

December 2, 2009 Posted by | Stories, Uncategorized, Vancouver Blogger | 4 Comments