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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for January 2007

Crossing the fine line

I’ve had the opportunity to get out of the house over the last two days, and I used it to run some errands.

Yesterday, I went to the journalism/communications Learning Centre, which maintains boxes for each professor where they can deposit papers for students to pick up. My box was missing. It was there in September, but no big deal – I was able to get a new box and put the corrected papers and quizzes in there.

Next, I went to get my glasses fixed. Somehow, I’d lost a nose rest. I don’t know how long ago this happened, because the glasses were comfortable enough without the missing nose rest. I went to the Greiche & Scaff in the Cavendish Mall, where I bought the glasses. Why the free plug? They gave me and installed a new pair of nose rests without charge.

I also took in a poster to be mounted. Alex Y. gave me a copy. It’s a painting by of the final battle of the Israeli War of Independence.

Today, I bought a Y-adapter for a disk-drive power cable and some insulated ring tongues. I already had a 933 MHz G4 CPU, heat sink, and fan in a box. And a 533 MHz G4 Mac that’s starting to creak.

I’m going to attempt major surgery to install the new CPU. It should work, but it’s not trivial.

There is, as David St. Hubbins told us, it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.

If all goes well, expect to hear from me sooner than otherwise.

Bonus changing of my mind:

Forget about Troy Hurtubise. Go look him up in Wikipedia if you must.


I had another of those moments.

I’ve been reading about some writing exercises out in the scribosphere, specifically about taking your characters and putting them in alien situations.

So I did that – with the “Sheep’s End” script I keep rewriting to help me avoid some significant emotional issues with the “By the Book” script I keep putting off.

I used these alternate stories as thought experiments – I didn’t write them down, but I thought of how my characters would react.

And then, in my mind, one of them died.

It brought a lump into my throat. How horrible that this charismatic little fellow could be rendered so lifeless.

Now, I’m not really too emotional a guy, but I’m not a robot either. It takes something of significance to make me get that lump, but that lump can appear. So this, I thought, was gold.

I rewrote that screenplay, but this time killed off that fun guy. It’s shocking. It comes out of the blue – but not without reason. And it ratchets up the emotional stakes of my script by an order of magnitude (I hope). R.I.P., Bren.

And it never would have occurred to me had I restricted my thinking to the box.

Just wanted to share that with you.

Winter’s here!

We were blessed with snow yesterday while our Ontario and New England neighbours dealt with freezing rain.

Snow and cold is not enough to deter some Montreal cyclists, who steadfastly continue to bike along Sherbrooke. When not lined with mounds of snow, the part of Sherbrooke near our home is narrow…


Webs drives, the instructor’s in the right seat. In each direction, the street has one full-width lane and a parking lane, plus an additional lane between them that fits compact cars if it’s not too hot out, because metal expands with heat.


How many lanes are there here?


One and a half.

The instructor shrugs.


…yet one cyclist today wasn’t going to let that stop him. Despite the bike lane on relatively deserted de Maisonneuve one block south, this cyclist stayed on Sherbrooke, zipping through and tying up traffic on a street that had been reduced to one lane (each way) by snow and parking. Good on ya!

I finished the travel database job that this blog snagged for me. I wasn’t paid enough for the work I ended up doing. I’m too conscientious. Now I have some work to do for Alex E. before I start working on the Avia book with Alex Y. Speaking of things 1948-y, I’ve solved a minor mystery regarding the war.

The first 101 Squadron mission took off May 29, 1948, about 7:45 p.m., bombed an Egyptian column, and returned within less than an hour. That’s late, and historians have assumed that the mission launched at dusk and returned at night.

I did a little research into what time the sun set that day. I found a database of historical astronomy and chronology – and it held that the sun set in Tel Aviv that day at 8:40 p.m. If that page is accurate, the aircraft did not return in the dark, or even in gloom. That sun hadn’t set yet.

Still, a mystery remained. If you look at the page, you see that the time of sunset jumps two hours between May 22 and May 23. But why? Shouldn’t Israel have been on British time, which that year advanced the clock one hour in March? Why did this two-hour time change end August 31?

I figured that if Israel had brought a time change into effect, the change would have been announced in a newspaper. Amazingly, anyone can read an archive of the Palestine Post (the former name of the Jerusalem Post) for free. Sure enough, I found this in the May 21, 1948 edition:

There it is. The first mission took place in full daylight, albeit the hour of sunset. Eddie Cohen did not mistake Qastina for Aqir in the dark. Either he suffered enough damage to make him crash (likely) or he was blinded by the setting sun and confused the two vastly different airfields (the opposite of likely).

Bonus teaser:

Look for an update on Troy “Project Grizzly” Hurtubise next.

The Lubavitcher answer to Al Jazeera

Allow me to introduce you to ChabadTube, a weekly podcast of news relevant to the Chabad Lubavitch orthodox Jewish community. It’s hilarious, really.

Um, maybe wait till after sundown today to visit, out of respect.

I’m up tight against a deadline. I probably won’t post again until Tuesday.

Two TV stories

Blogger/actor/supahstah Wil Wheaton has begun writing reviews of episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” at TV Squad. Wil, of course, played boy genius Wesley Crusher, so he brings not only a great sense of humour, but behind-the-scenes perspective.

Check it out, but start at the bottom of the page and work your way up.

Have you heard of Space Coyote? This amateur manga artist applied her skills to manga renditions of the cast of “Futurama” and “The Simpsons“.

Digg picked up on and linked to the art, and that led to Matt Groening becoming aware of it. Which led to Groening’s comic-book company, Bongo Comics, hiring Ms. Coyote to do a short “The Simpsons” comic.

Pretty cool, eh? It gets better.

Fox also contacted Space Coyote. They want to hire her as an artist on “Futurama”. Now that’s good news, everyone.

Bonus shout-out to a scriboplayah:

Thanks, Christina, for two great new links.

BlogRolling is not dead

Prompted by an e-mail discussion with Warren Leonard, I continued to spend time – er, debit time I don’t have to look into a substitute for the extremely unhealthy BlogRolling service.

I found this recent Cruft post, which announces that BlogRolling has died. The post summoned BlogRolling honcho Ross Rader out of the webwork. Ross illuminates some of the problems BlogRolling is dealing with.

I’m happy BlogRolling is not dead, but Ross writes, “One of our biggest outstanding issues is how we move forward with the ‘most recently updated’ feature….”

Duh. Without that, BlogRolling doesn’t have any advantage over the numerous blogroll services out there. That’s its value. While I’m heartened that Ross and the rest seem to be working on problems, he doesn’t seem to have a handle on the biggest problem.

As a bonus, Jason DeFillippo (the creator of BlogRolling, former Technoratian, current cheese at Metroblogging) also comments on that Cruft post.

Possible interview

(The Blogger profile is updating now. Go figure.)

This morning, I received an e-mail from the Bluecat Screenplay Competition which asked me if I wanted to interview founder Gordy Hoffman for the blog. It’s free publicity for his contest.

Odd, I thought, but similar e-mails have come in before.

I noticed that the e-mail was addressed to the recipient, which usually means there’s a big list of BCC’d recipients, explicitly or implicitly.

Any other scribosphereans get this? I don’t see what I’d get out of it – some traffic, maybe, but that’s not why I have this blog. It ain’t making cookies, that’s for sure. If someone else is going to interview him, at least I won’t feel guilty about skipping the opportunity.

Speaking of scribosphereans, John August has a brilliant post today on writing scenes.

Bonus comment on Steve Jobs:

In his MacWorld keynote today, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. Fine. But I did enjoy the spunk with which he did it, playing “Lovely Rita Meter Maid” on it, thumbing his nose at Apple Corps, against which Apple Computer won a lawsuit last May. A step farther, Jobs announced that Apple Computer has become simply Apple.

Then there was the first public call Jobs made on the iPhone. As AP (through CNN) put it, “With a few finger taps, Jobs demonstrated how to pull up a Google Maps site and find the closest Starbucks to the Moscone Center. He then prank-called the cafe and ordered 4,000 lattes to go before quickly hanging up.”

Heh heh.

Blogger profile and other updates

I changed the text to my Blogger profile, but the text of the profile that shows up on 101 pages hasn’t changed.

I suppose I should look into why. Maybe the back half of January. Other projects for then include upgrading to the Tiger version of OS X (primarily to get a version of Safari that won’t choke on Google). I also have a 933 MHz G4 CPU I may try to solder into my 533 MHz G4 desktop. If it works, great. If not, well, my birthday is right around the corner.

Spent part of the day on the phone and e-mailing children of 101 Squadron’s Wayne Peake. The family has a box of his photos and logbook, and Alex Y. and I would like to thumb through them for our book.

Tomorrow, I’ll call the daughter of a 101 Squadron ground crewman. She’s right here in Montreal and also has a box of her father’s memories.

This is kinda fun.

Last shreds of California

I, the wife, and the sister-in-law went to the Blank Club in downtown San Jose last night. It was ’80s night and it was glorious.

Several clubs in the area have ’80s music Thursday nights and the typical hiphoppery on the weekends. The clever entrepreneur would reverse the trend and get the crowd swimming in the opposite direction.

The music was as good as any place I’ve been since, oh, Sheewaz in Montreal closed its doors. If I still lived here, I’d be there every week.

Today, I met Christina for lunch. She’s not at all as shy as the photo at her blog leads one – i.e. me – to believe. She came with a former co-worker, and we talked a bit of writing, a bit of the employment scene, and a bit of Canada. I may have turned her on to “Kenny vs. Spenny”.

Christina mentioned that she enjoys the posts about Children One through Three. I started updating 101 with their adventures mostly so I could let family members in on the news, but several non-family members have expressed appreciation for those posts.

Speaking of which, Child One has started reading TriggerStreet scripts in parallel with me. It has crossed my mind that she could do reviews, too, and I could record the credits but that wouldn’t be all that ethical, you know?

Time to pack up for the trip home. Later….

Not asleep

We spent the day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium today. We’re going out dancing tonight.

I uploaded the new “Sheep’s End” to TriggerStreet – why not? No reviews yet, but I have completed two reviews of other screenplays since my resolution.

We’re going home Saturday, so I suppose I should blog tomorrow to avoid leaving you, my faithful readers, with a yawning emptiness.

Let this be a warning to the squatters in my home. You have until Saturday night to get out.

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