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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for 2005

Life in a Monty Python skit

Elvi is in Las Vegas for Stuart’s wedding. It’s a small affair this time, and she’s best “man”. The celebration part of the wedding will take place New Year’s Eve in California, and we’ll all attend that.

That leaves me home alone with the children from Wednesday to Sunday, and their extremely booked schedules cut into mine.

Wednesday, I picked them up at school at 4:00. Child One had animation class 6:00 to 7:30. Child Two and her friend had figure skating 6:30 to 7:25. I dropped them off – fortunately only two blocks apart – and took Child Three home for half an hour. In between the sessions of driving, I didn’t have much time to cook, so at 7:00, the boy and I headed off to pick up a bucket of chicken. We spent a half-hour waiting to order. The unilingual French and dim cashier had trouble communicating with the unlingual Spanish customer who only had American currency.

It was a secret recipe for an extra-crispy disaster.

I got to the designated pick-up point for Child One at 7:40. I had decided to get her first because she was alone – Child Two had her friend with her. But I didn’t see Child One, so I drove on to get the other two.

I packed them into the van at the arena and returned to seek Child One. As I drove by, I saw her sitting on the floor inside the building, absorbed in her reading and oblivious to the world. I wonder where she gets that from….

After dropping off Child Two’s skating companion, we got home at 8:10. All got to bed by 9:00. That’s five-plus hours of my day right there.

Thursday started with a splash, the splash of Child Three’s vomit hitting the toilet bowl. Child One also said she was nauseated, but I was dubious – she’s an occasional shirker. Both sick kids did have an appetite for breakfast, so I thought the vomit might be a one-time thing and piled all three into the van for the ride to school.

On the way, Child Three complained he was hot but, in reply to my question, said he did not have to throw up. I asked him to tell me if he had to, so I could pull over to let him do it outside. Two and a half blocks later, he told me.

I was driving on a residential street with cars in every parking spot. I pulled over by one driveway but a car started backing out, so I drove to the next driveway. By the time I flashed out of the driver’s seat and pulled open the sliding door, my fantastic, dedicated boy had his cheeks puffed out and his hand over his mouth. Despite his effort, dribbles of vomit trickled down his chin. He held it until he left the van and let it fly onto the street. What a trooper.

I have to say, this was the least offensive vomit I’ve ever seen. The boy had eaten cinnamon ewaffles for breakfast less than half an hour previous, so what he produced looked and smelled as nice as cinnamon porridge.

A passing woman offered us a bottle of water. We thanked her and drove the girls to school.

The boy spent the day at home with me, which always cuts into how much I can work. He had some potato chips and apple juice in the afternoon, and kept that down. At 3:30, we went off to fetch Child Two from school. Child One had choir practice until 5:00, but she would come home with a carpool.

After picking up Child Two at 4:00, I took the two younger ones shopping for food – I made a squash soup for supper. I had the foresight to take a plastic bag with, in case Child Three lost it again.

Butternut squash – check.
Celery – check
Child Three complaining of the heat and looking flushed – check.

Between the onions and lettuce shelves, he threw up. But this spectacular child spewed every last drop into the bag. I’ve rarely seen such control. I went outside to throw the bag into a garbage can. I couldn’t handle asking a counterperson to deal with a bag of vomit for me.

I cooked at home, fed the kids, and got them in bed. I got some time to myself at 9:00, but I was too burned out to work, so I instead lost a Bedford truck, a Crusader, and a Matilda in WW II Online. The infantry players in the game have got to learn to protect the armour from sappers.

Child Three seemed healthy this morning, and I dropped them off at school. I got home, read the paper, and got a call: Child One threw up in class.

So I went and got her. And then spent 45 minutes writing a blog entry.

It hasn’t been a productive week. I wonder what the Jewish Brigade (virtual) is up to….

Comedy tonight

The BBC had a pick-up from the Yorkshire Evening Post online for a week or so, which it has since deleted. The short article has already escaped, and is wending its way around cyberspace like a runaway dog.

Read it and then enjoy the public commentary, which the BBC allows to live on.

Bonus update:

This seems true, but old. The Museum of Hoaxes clarifies the situation.

Dare I hope?

Nearmiss sent me an encouraging note last night. A small band of TriggerStreeters is expanding the concept of the collaborative short scripts to features. In this exercise, we will work individually, but our features are to be based on a random song. Nearmiss wanted me to take part.

Better than that, Nearmiss said she was going to nominate me for a writing job with her production group. I don’t know exactly what that entails – she’s limited in what she can divulge by a confidentiality clause – but she thinks I would be a huge asset.

Dare I hope that I can make a few bucks at this screenwriting gig?

Unusually high rankings

Saul noticed that a Google search for his film company turned up an old reference to the then unresolved issue of the use of my Lou Lenart bio. Since that resolved comfortably, I went back and edited the post. Although I don’t like editing posted content, what Google was picking up was not fair.

(Watch closely as I cleverly segue….)

I’ve been covering the Net for a dozen years, but I don’t understand how my 101 blog ranks so highly on some fairly ordinary searches. Saul and the company don’t have much of a Net presence, so my site’s prominence in a search for their names isn’t surprising.

I can’t understand some other results. I only get a dozen or two hits per day, and only four or five other sites out there link to me. There’s no reason 101 should be Google’s second highest ranking for “narcotic nose itch”, or third for “mice and tendonitis”, or seventh for “things to do tomorrow”.

That’s just strange.

Back to script work

Alex wants me to write a three-page synopsis of one of his feature screenplays for submission to a Canadian writing prize. While I appreciate the confidence he must have in me, it’s a daunting responsibility.

Alex was also surprised to learn recently just how little TV I watch.

The only shows I make a point to watch are “House”, “Arrested Development”, “My Name Is Earl”, “Corner Gas”, and “The Simpsons”. When the sequel to “The Tournament” comes out, I’ll certainly watch that, too. The first miniseries was hilarious, and was filmed in part at the arena I play at.

Shows I’ll watch if they’re on while I flick through channels: “Family Guy”, “Scrubs”, “King of the Hill”, “Trailer Park Boys”, and “Myth Busters”. I used to watch a “Law and Order” every lunch hour on Bravo, all repeats.

I’ll also watch anything with tanks or airplanes or guns in it. My presets include the Military Channel, the History Channel, etc.

I’ve watched a few “Dead Like Me” recently, but mostly because the lead is so odd looking.

Hockey, baseball, and NFL will also park my bottom on the couch, but not with any regularity.

You know those analyses that find that the Net has cut into TV watching? I’m Exhibit A. Well, the Net and three kids and four jobs….

Nearmiss and I have submitted our final draft. A surprisingly high number of the other pairs either broke up or otherwise failed to turn in a script.

Schedule off schedule

Nothing like a power outage to bring life as we know it to a grinding, frustrating halt.

Looks like tomorrow is a make-up day.

Busy, busy, busy

My week is packed, primarily because Netsurfer Digest creaked back to life, which entirely befits this spookalicious season (I never feel quite right calling Halloween a “holiday”).

I had three sets of assignments to correct for my classes. For the students past and present who visit this blog (shout-out to L… – nope, not going to, haha), here’s some insight into a teacher’s brain. When I first started teaching JOUR 202, the product of the LexisNexis assignment was a news article the students had to write. At some point, that changed to the current long list of short answer questions. That’s not entirely laziness on the part of Leo, Matt (before he imploded), and me. The short answers are much easier to grade, but because of that, they most directly test the research skills – without all that fiddly writing obscuring the matter. But most importantly, it’s easier and faster to correct.

Monday afternoon, I spent alternately trying to move 101squadron.com to a new server and working on Child One’s high school applications. I’m sure I did more, but I have no record of it. Oh, wait – Netsurfer. Sunday night, my publisher sent me a batch of Breaking Surf to whip in to shape for the issue that had been waiting for that since the first week of the month. I spent the day after class editing that. Good thing I had decided at the very last possible moment to get the Halloween issue in gear, or I’d be feeling pretty crappy about now. The Halloween issue should go out Saturday, maybe Sunday.

Tuesday was an Alex day. I tried to find people to talk to about the pilot/series. Anyone out there know people in the fashion biz who wouldn’t mind spending less than a half-hour on a phone interview? I also corrected the JOUR 202 tests and assignments, took Child Three to hockey, and played hockey myself at night.

Yesterday was another teaching morning. I spent the afternoon on my final draft and polish of the short-film script I’m doing with Nearmiss. It’s only OK. It tells the story, but I’m not entirely happy with the secondary characters. I wish I’d had more time for that.

In between, I did crap work for Alex. I found places for him to order blueberry bushes (not as easy as it sounds), tried to find out where he should report his neighbour’s mess o’ beef leavings, and pursued the true earnings per click of an online film site.

Today, I’ve wasted 20 minutes blogging. The rest of the day is Alex’s. Tomorrow is more Netsurfer. Saturday, my kids are throwing a Halloween party. Sunday will be spent correcting JOUR 319 biographies.

By Saturday night, I’ll be a hollow shell, ready to be filled. So, little journalists-in-training, what day and when is your Halloween party? I have a great hobbit costume….

Willmaaaa!

As in hurricane.

My father’s note, sent Monday morning:

I woke up around 6 this morning and was a little surprised to hear the wind blowing out there at that force and so early. It was forecast to pass north of us around 2 PM today. I haven’t yet checked all the sources, but since it is huffing and puffing from the south, I’m guessing it got larger in area and probably upgraded to a Cat 3. As it tracks north of us, the winds will shift to the west and start diminishing.

In any case, it was a VERY good decision yesterday morning to fly the plane down to Nassau for tie down. An additional distance of 125 miles from the storm is a wonderful idea and more importantly, Nassau airport is not subject to surges or flooding. It was in fact a beautiful day for flying yesterday.

The patio is clear, loose jalousie windows supported by either 2 x 4’s or 4 x 4’s, and I think I’ll go have coffee and take some pictures. It very comfortable with the air conditioning; it is quite hot and humid. We will experience a severe cold front right behind the hurricane, dropping temperatures and bringing extremely dry air. It will be beautiful again!

More later when and if able. No desire yet to go back to shovelling snow!

This morning, he phoned me, and I sent out this e-mail for him:

Hurricane Wilma passed through Freeport overnight, and my father left a message for me to pass on.

Predictions had called for 50 mph winds, but the winds hit at hurricane strength.

Don and Marion are fine, but their roof is not. They lost the roof over their bedroom, but the house’s windows all remain intact. Don’s car, on the other hand, lost its windshield.

They have no power at the moment. Yesterday was 88 degrees, but the overnight low was only 58. (Tonight, the expected low is 48. – L) Fortunately, it’s dry so Don and Marion don’t have to worry about being rained on.

All in all, my father sounds cheery.

I wonder if the snow is any more attractive today.

Opportunity knocks

Last night, a Hollywood type contacted me about hiring me to do some research for a documentary. He wasn’t explicit, but I assume he meant work on 101 Squadron. He wrote that Soly Haim had passed my name to him. I’m not sure if this is Soly’s Lou Lenart project or not.

The man (who will remain nameless for now) has legitimate credits. He seems to be primarily an aerial photographer, but his credits extend from airline commercials to NASA projects to high-budget features. At least, those credits are on his CV. IMDb does match on one film, so I suppose there’s no need to be paranoid.

He asked me how much I would want in pay, and I wrote back that he would need to detail what he wanted. I couldn’t even gauge whether to charge by hour, per word, or as a flat fee. I’m not even sure if he would want me to travel to California for this.

More as this develops….

Urg, aahhhhh

I got hit with a migraine today, but not a bad one.

In addition to migraines, I also get severe tension headaches. Pain relievers work for both conditions, but the Imitrex nasal spray only works on the migraines. I tend to stick with the analgesics because of that – the Imitrex only works about half the time.

I don’t get auras. (I did once get one. It looked like a pink and powder-blue paisley pattern.) My migraines normally start off feeling just like a tension or caffeine headache. It’s only once the nausea and pounding kick in that I can diagnose a migraine.

My self-treatment usually starts with upwards of 500 mg of ibuprofen (I use a generic, but most people call this Advil). If that doesn’t help, I move on to the narcotics. I used to have a prescription to Percocet, but I had to take more and more to soothe the pain, so my doctor moved me to Dilaudid.

Percocet contains a powerful narcotic, oxycodone, that runs the risk of addiction, as Rush Limbaugh could tell you. To me, it’s just another pill. I’ve never felt the slightest inclination to take one except for pain relief. Then again, the pills don’t affect me the same way they do most people. One of my roommates also suffered from migraines, and took a Percocet. The pill made his arms numb. The Percocet only makes the inside of my nose itch, physically, and behaviourally, it loosens my tongue. I’m a quiet guy, but on Percocet, I jabber like a parrot. I rarely feel high on the pills – I need to take them on an empty stomach for that to happen.

The Percocet use got to the point where I’d take four or five, spread over two-pill allotments an hour apart, to get rid of a headache. One time last year, I was up to seven over two and half hours without relieving the pain. I went to a hospital ER, where they put me on an IV of something and helped me out.

Today, I started with 400 mg ibuprofen and a cup of coffee. An hour later, I took another 600 mg, and after that, one Percocet.

Now, three hours after the first pill, I can finally get back to correcting student work. I still have some head pain, but I’ll grind through it.

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