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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for September 2005

Back in action

101squadron.com disappeared for 36 hours. It’s back.

I apologize to the online world.

I almost killed my wife

Stuart and his fiancee, Barbara, took us out for supper last night. I may have eaten more beef at one sitting than I ever have before.

It was a night of unintentional, mostly, double entendres. The restaurant displays fantastic cuts of meat in a meat counter by the front door. Some of the cuts are amazing, and not only for their size. One hunk of unsliced T-bone was so well aged, it looked almost like cheese.

When we first arrived, the maitre-d’ told us we would have to wait for the hostess to return from the second floor before we could be seated. The wife told him, “That’s OK. We’ll just look at your meat.” In case anyone missed the unintentional pun, she laughed for five minutes to put an exclamation point on it.

But that’s not how she nearly died.

The waiters wore nifty black and white ties with a horse motif. Stuart wanted one, but the restaurant was out of stock. New, they cost $60. One waiter said he would for $20 sell us the tie off his neck at the end of his shift, at 10:30. We finished our meal, took a walk, and still returned with 15 minutes to wait.

We decided to have drinks in the restaurant bar. The waiter there sold us on flavoured coffees. My wife and Barbara decided on the coffee that, he informed us, “had a shot of Frangelico, with the flavour of nuts.”

This description was the first step on path that almost led to my lovely wife’s demise.

The coffees arrived, top high with freshly whipped cream. I had ordered something with Tia Maria and brandy, for, as I commented, I didn’t think I was up to drinking something flavoured with our waiter’s nuts.

You see where this is going, don’t you?

Barbara wondered whether the whipped cream on top belonged to the waiter as well, or if it was artificial. I said, “It’s real. It takes a little longer, but it’s worth it.”

And this is how I nearly killed my wife.

She thought that was really funny. So funny, in fact that it caused her to expel most of the air in her lungs into the coffee that she was about to sip. The lion’s share of the whipped cream – were lions to actually share whipped cream instead of keeping it for themselves – the lion’s share retained coherence. The glob of cream flew up in the air, turning slowly above my wife’s head, as if some prehistoric Australopithecine pastry chef had tossed it up in triumphant celebration of the invention of mille-feuilles or tiramisu.

It rotated. Time slowed down, allowed us the leisure of examining every bump and valley on the glob’s surface. Then it fell into her lap.

In addition to the satellite of cream, streamers blew back from the cup to cover my wife’s face and hair, like some sort of dairy bukkake, not that I would know anything about things like that, or link to them.

I hear my audience: what a lovely yet not fatal picture you paint!

Here’s the dangerous part. After expelling the contents of her lungs, my wife, being not quite superhuman enough to go without oxygen, breathed in. Deeply. The concentration of cream per liter of air in the vicinity of her intakes exceeded all known government safety standards.

Her hair had fallen over her face, and she was shaking. We all thought she was laughing. We all laughed with her. In fact, she was choking on whipped cream that had lodged in her trachea. Five seconds later, she coughed up the cream, and continued laughing.

Great fun was had by all.

Bonus restaurant review:

We went to Chez Queux for lunch today. We got our table at 1:00, three of us were served our salads at 2:00, and the other three received a hamburger, poutine, and chicken nuggets another 15 minutes later. And the food wasn’t even that great.

If the Intardnet is good for anything, this post will warn off people from going there for lunch.

Twenty stitches, each side

I just listened to the tale of the Great Minivan Rescue of Ought-Five.

Wife and Stuart borrowed my brother-in-law’s jumper cables and went to the van while I slept off the three shots of Malibu that did nothing for me last night.

They started up the new van with the old van. Then they closed its door.

Let’s review. Two minivans, both running. One open, one locked. In the locked minivan, one set of keys in the ignition. Two sets of keys in the purse on the front seat. Zero keys or remote-starter doodads available outside its confines to unlock it.

CAA was more than happy to help my wife, a paying customer. As the van was running, they made her a priority. There’s an upside to gas costing $1.47 per liter.

Eureka!

I found out what was causing my G4 to remain comatose after sleep. I acquired an Epson CX4600 printer/copier/scanner last week. If my G4 goes to sleep while the CX4600 is powered on and connected to it with the USB cable, it will not wake. Unplugging the Epson after the onset of sleep does not prevent the bug. The peripheral must be detached/unpowered when the G4 enters sleep.

In a secondary eureka moment, this 101 blog has made it onto the blog roll of Alligators in a Helicopter (see link in Screenwriting Links). Thanks, Steve. Sorry the Epson scores higher.

Bonus minivan coverage:

I wanted to retrieve the van before supper, but my wife wanted to wait until afterward. Here in Canada, vehicles must use daytime running lights, and even though this was a California van when we bought it, we had to install daytime-running-light functionality to import it.

The battery was dead when she went to get it at 9:45 on the way to the airport. No big deal. She bought jumper cables this morning and went to get it with Stuart.

Double bonus “I hate my house even when it’s empty” coverage:

Between 10 p.m. and midnight, my home gained Stuart’s fiance, my sister, her husband, and her two kids for the long weekend.

Even more early senility

This morning, my wife told me that my father, who is visiting from out of town, said he would pick up the boy from kindergarten, and that he might need to borrow one of our minivans to do so.

I assumed he would either contact me or show up at my home regardless of any need to borrow a vehicle. Contact me, because I’m the parent who does afternoon carpool, and show up regardless, because he would need the boy’s carseat.

I had heard nothing by 2:30, and kindergarten pick-up is at 3:00, so off I went to retrieve the boy.

I met my father at the school. The trip wasn’t a total loss – I handed over the carseat to him, then walked two blocks to Tim Horton’s for a large coffee. I had to pick up the girls and their carpool buddy at 4:00 anyway.

I got back to my car with a half-hour left to waste. The kids had a portable DVD player in the back seat and a collection of DVDs. I figured I’d blow 22 minutes with an episode of “Futurama“, one of the greatest shows ever on TV, and my all-time favourite DVDs for the commentary.

I unlocked the car with the remote and engaged the electric power to run the DVD player. I closed the driver-side door and went to the passenger-side sliding door. It was locked.

You know that sinking feeling you get when your universe doglegs irrevocably?

All the doors were locked. So was the trunk. I’m not sure why. The doors used to lock automatically once the van reached 20 mph. Maybe I leaned on the door-lock switch. Maybe the mechanics who installed the new engine miswired the electrics. Doesn’t matter – I was locked out.

I walked two blocks the other way to a police station. The officer on duty said that the laws prevented police from breaking into a vehicle, even at the owner’s request. He said all he could do was call a tow truck for me.

Back at the school, I called CAA. My wife has an account. The not entirely business savvy CAA woman told me I could buy an associate account, but I’d have to wait 48 hours before my first service call.

I tried to phone my wife next. I have never been able to commit her cell-phone number to memory, but the school had last year’s files at hand. Not this year’s, yet. That’s unfortunate, since my wife really only uses the new cell phone, the number of which the school did not have. I called the older cell phone, but I think that’s the one I saw in the minvan I was locked out of.

In the end, our fellow carpooler, Julia, came to pick us all up. Luckily, I left the patio door unlocked, so we had no problem getting into the house.

We’ll go get the van later. It’s legally parked.

Early senility

I woke up this morning with an insightful, worthwhile comment for the blog. Something on the hurricane and New Orleans, I think.

Somewhere between the time I lathered the shampoo and rinsed my face, it left me.

So here’s an alternate and less earth-changing thought: maybe I should change the name of my blog to “Llamas in a Bumper Car” to honour Scott my Reader’s own take on “Snakes on a Plane”.

Speaking of Hurricane Katrina…. The tattered remnants of the storm fell on Montreal, and caused a black-out in my house. Ever since, when my G4 goes to sleep, it won’t wake up. I rebuilt permissions, so we’ll see how that goes. The next step would be to zap the PMU.

“101” rewrite

I could swear I promised myself I’d start with a legitimate treatment this time….

The reviews I received for the first draft of “101” I pretty much expected: good writing; good setting; lousy sense of drama and emotion. That’s what you get when you let journalists write fiction…. I’m encouraged by the few readers who tell me they get sucked in so hard, they read it through without stopping. It is a great story, and I couldn’t make it up if I tried – apparently.

I’m tearing my hair out trying to invest these guys with more emotional juice. I think it’s working, but I’m not sure.

I’ve gone about 20 pages into a fairly significant rewrite, and I’m too close to tell whether I’m on the right track or falling into the same old pitfalls.

To borrow a line from “Sheep’s End”: “You’re a cold, cold man, Hawth.”

Bonus fantasy baseball whine:

My NL 4×4 fantasy baseball team has just about an entire lineup of injured players:

C – Todd Greene, out for most of year
1B Doug Mientkewicz, DL
2B Jose Castillo, out for year
3B Scott Rolen, out for year
SS Kaz Matsui, out for most of year
OF Ryan Freel, out for month
OF Brad Hawpe, out for most of year
OF Lance Berkman, was out for two months
SP Ben Sheets, out for year

Bleh

I spent the day on a rewrite of “101”. I think I’ve added more drama to the beginning, and I’m pleased with the new introduction of the first class of pilots, but I might be spending too much time with them and losing main characters in the background.

I’d like to include the story of the beautiful spy in the hotel because it adds danger and a rare female role, but it might just be too tangential to the main story. In fact, just blogging this has convinced me to cut that sequence short. So long, writer’s block. Even if this blog has an audience of two, this just made it worth it. (C’mon. Comment. I dare you. Both of you.)

Next time, at least the next writing-oriented entry, I hope to discuss TriggerStreet’s reaction to “Sheep’s End”.

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