Category Archives: Blather

May Then June

My last post was April 5th, and even that wasn’t much of a post. A lot of changes are in the wind these days. Here we are, the end of June 2016, and the thought crosses my mind, most of my solid accomplishments are running a bit stale. I need to get some things done, educationally, physically, metaphysically, stuff just needs to get done.

We have plans, and we have been working towards those plans, but not at what I think should be our pace… my pace really. I should be getting more done. I have but a week to get a bunch of stuff done, and prepare for a very busy week after that.

Things are what they are and I have little control over things like the seasons so why fret. Just my nature I suppose. It’s so hard to stay motivated when it seems like we are always in a holding pattern for something or other. I want to see some momentum, some forward movement, action taking place. I know, be careful what you wish for. I’m sure it will bite me in the ass at some point.

Anyway, enough blathering on about nothing comprehensible.

Until next time,

An unproductive cycle

I seem to be getting into a cycle of posting that doesn’t seem to work well, or encourage more frequent posting. I have been posting once a month on all of the blogs I post too, on the same day, and then ignore them for another month. It’s like getting that hated chore done because it needs doing, not blogging because I have something to say, or feel like posting. I need to shift this trend back to “blogging is fun” not a chore.

Blahahahah… Okay, I got that out of my system.

220px-Goofy.svgSo much going on and yet so little progress to show for it. We have been planning to relocate for so long it just feels like the wheels are spinning in the mud. I have been planning for every contingency a new homestead environment can throw at us that its all become a mash of thoughts and potentials. The problem with this is I can’t go any further, it’s all just rehashes of stuff I have already considered. Without having a piece of land to plan around, an environment to adapt to, resources to count, conserve, and work with, I am just spinning tires in the mud.

We are so close, but nothing looks like we are any closer than we were a year ago. I had originally set a goal for this spring, as in March, April, or May, NOW. We should be relocating NOW. But that got pushed to a trip up north in mid May to scout out property, and hopefully buy a plot, with an actual move some time in late summer or early fall.

I am antsy to get up there. I don’t want to be scrambling to get a structure up and livable before winter sets in, and I sure as hell don’t want to wait it out until next spring. Let me rephrase that, I can’t wait it out until next spring. Ahhhhhhhhhh! Sorry. I’m just one giant ball of nerves grasping at something to keep my brain from running amuck amuck amuck. breath…

Zack is in his final term at De Anza. Two english classes and a music appreciation class away from his degree in English Literature. I am very proud as one might imagine. Annoyed, not that the two english classes books are a total of $80 for six books, that’s fine, the music class however… If I understand the bookstore correctly is about $250 for a book and a CD, seriously?! The cost of textbooks is nothing new and I would expect it for a math or science book, not this. We will do what we need to. Zack has worked hard to earn this and nothing will stand in his way to complete his degree. I just don’t like being gouged by publishers.

I sound in so negative, and I’m really not feeling mad or angry, just annoyed. It is so easy right now for me to get worked up when I encounter what I perceive to be stupidity, ignorance, and a lack of courtesy, respect, or common sense. Yes, I acknowledge that it is my perception and not necessarily what is actually happening, that I may not have all of the facts, that situations arise, I get all of that. I still get annoyed, and my threshold is low right now.

wingnutBetween to asinine behaviour of all of the political parties, and theire more vehement followers on all sides this political season, along with the general lack of good behavior out in public, I just don’t want to be out in it. I don’t go off-property very often, once a week maybe. I don’t go online all that often for the same reasons. I don’t want to be a hermit. I actually want to get out, do stuff, go places, enjoy being out and about. I’m just not in the right headspace to be out in the world.

When Tammy and I went up north last year in February it was a wonderful break from the urban sprawl. Just that short four days was enough to get me through a couple of months back in the concrete jungle. That rejuvenation ran out a few months back. I really need to…

More of not much

20150222_143627Holy crap! What do I write about…

It’s weird, I am in a strange head space right now. I have been thinking about a lot of projects I want to get going or moving forward on but it seems like the entire universe in in a holding pattern. I have aviation projects I want to get working on, radio projects, homesteading projects, building stuff, woodworking, furniture, the list goes on and on, but everything is on hold, well almost everything…

We have been working on putting together a bunch of projects of stuff for sale to try and get a crafting/restoration business going to start generating some funds before we make the jump to a new location but it sapping all our energy and some funds with not much in return as of yet.

What was once going to be a website for a completely different business idea has turned into our families crafting/restoration site We have been working on a bunch of projects and posting them on the site. We also have several projects we are just wrapping up to post over the weekend. All of my energies have been going to getting more build projects done.

While building all of this stock and working side-by-side with Tammy are is a good thing in theory, my head is spinning with all of the things that are on hold while I focus on this. Most of it is stuff that would be on hold anyway. I can’t justify starting any other projects that would require a lot of time or materials right before making a big move. It just wouldn’t make sense. I am trying to cut down the pile of stuff that needs to get moved, not add to it.

Keeping spending down to a bare minimum is also a priority, while still keeping up with what we need to spend money on to get the build projects done.

It’s all so tiring, and I can’t get my brain to switch off. It’s like having 100 projects all running at the same time but having 95 of them all waiting on some outside thing to happen befor you can go any further. You go through the list everyday and try to plan for the next phase of each and every one, but you can’t because that outside thing is a variable and the direction of the project hinges on that variable. 95 variables for 95 projects, all floating around in your head while you try to stay on top of all 100 projects and get that small 5 that you are not waiting on anything done.

Just thinking about thinking about it makes my head hurt. Welcome to my head, watch your step, mind the squishy bits.

The basic plan is for a land acquisition in May with a move date sometime around September. I don’t know if I can hold out that long. I’m relatively sure my perception is skewed, but it sure seems like the Stupid and Ignorant quotient is getting larger every day, and I’m finding my tolerance for it is in very short supply. Fortunately working from home keeps me out of the majority of it but even going out only a few times a week has become a very trying experience.

I guess I need some more shop time. 🙂

Till next time,

Feelin’ Philoslothical

PhilaslothicalTo whomever did this graphic, I thank you. Like many amusing things I found it on the interwebs many moons ago. It tickled me in the feels and I always smile when I see it.

There are may of these little graphical gems we run across that make us smile, or feel something on a particular day. Some stick with us for a long time others are fleeting. While I was digging around for graphics to use in another post, this one once again made me smile.

What does this have to do with anything? Not much. I just wanted to share it.

What am I posting about? Not much. Just some unconnected musings.

Yesterday we went to the Stanford Blood Center and while I was indisposed for my platelets donation my mind kept wandering. I had planned on doing some reading but nothing seemed to be able to hold my attention.

Along with all of the studying for my commercial radio license exams, my general studies in electronics and amateur radio, getting day-job stuff done, and making plans for the future, I haven’t been doing much socializing, online or anywhere else. Every time we plan on something to do, something else pops up and requires our attention. Usually we end up waiting for vendors to arrive or finish up and by the time they are done, it’s too late to go do what we planned on doing, or we are just too damn tired/stressed to be out in public.

We have been very busy cleaning out the detritus gathered over a couple of decades of keeping a house. We are clean people, we have done well for years in keeping the clutter to a minimum but we have collected a lot of stuff over the years. Stuff that for all intents and purposes we really don’t need. I need to do some purging over the next month or so to pare down the pile a bit more.

I have several projects in the day-job that have been floating for a while but I am slowly getting them done and off the list. Two big ones have already been cleared off the list this year and I am close to closing out another two, maybe next week, but most definitely by April’s end, along with another big project recently added.

Things are getting done, progress is being made, as are plans for the future. There are very few things to complain about in the life we live, most of them a piddly an insignificant in the big picture. I am very grateful for all that we have and for our life’s experiences.


If it’s any consolation…

March 22. My first post for 2012 is on March 22.

Vintage Aero WorksDidn’t do so good on the plan to write regularly did I. Lots of contributing factors I suppose, the biggest being that I have been slammed with school work ever since I started the AMT program at Gavilan. Other contributing factors include the hesitation to post about anything not “business” enough on this site. I solved this one by dividing stuff into two sites, FBJ is the personal site and Vintage Aero Works as the business site. Right now the VAW site doesn’t have much of anything on it beyond the spiffty logo. 😉

Another contributing factor is pure just-too-damn-tired syndrome. This is one I am still working on. There is a huge list of things I need to get rolling but school has to come first over just about everything else. In the category of exceptions to the rule we had one of those rare items come up last week. On March 13th my father-in-law passed away. The first decade of Tammy and my life together we spent a lot of time with the in-laws and I have grown to love them as my natural parents. Dad was the only father I have ever known and I miss him a great deal, far more than I can express.

After they moved back to Massachusetts we kept in touch of course, but not as often as we should have. Being less than wealthy, we were not able to go back and visit with them much at all. They came out here a couple of times and my wife went back there when dad was really sick with his first cancer battle. He kicked cancer’s ass twice but he was in a weakened state and a series of smaller health issues stacked the deck against him. After a six week period of in-and-out hospitalization he was ready to move on to the next life.  “Mac” Veloza was with us 82 years, 20 of which made me a better person. I’ll miss you dad.

Americo F Veloza
Americo F. Veloza (December 28 1929 - March 13, 2012)

This time next week I’ll be sitting in class!!!

I have some more fiberglass work to do today that requires me to leave the house and pick up some materials and supplies over at TAP Plastics. With stuff in hand I can finish the big patch of repairedness by the front door and move on to the next spot tomorrow. There are three spots I have not gotten to yet. If I can get one more done before school starts that will be good. The rest will need to be done on weekends. before the wet season begins.

Not nearly as many projects got finished over the summer as I had planned, and nothing got done on the airplane mostly due to buttstucktochairwhileoncomputeritis; eh, it happens. With any luck being at school will help motivate me to work on weekend projects and if I chunk them down into smaller pieces like paint a wall and not the paint the entire stairwell including floor maybe I can find and keep my motivation to get them done.

It’s kind of funny how I am great at planing and running projects and events in the real world but when it comes to maintenance around the homestead I seem to get stalled-out. Not sure why that is, but I have ideas. We have been here 15 years as of April 1, no joke, that’s our anniversary date here, and I have been itching to move on for several years now. Not like it’s a bad gig or anything, on the contrary, it’s a really good gig that has saved our butts through bad times and has given me opportunities to pursue my own business interests, learn a ton of new skill sets in the outside world, and is now allowing me to go back to school. I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Speaking about stalled out, the last few weeks have been one of those weight loss plateaus that picks at your resolve to hold fast and keep on track. Well I have kept on track and I am starting to see results again. I am within a few tenths of a pound of my lowest weight in several decades and a few pounds from reaching a benchmark goal. I am still logging my food and exercise and plan to continue with that. A friend recently gave me a bike so now the wife and I can go hit some of the bike trails before the weather turns, in all of my copious amounts of free time of course.

I have made a two year commitment to complete my FAA Airframe and Powerplant mechanic certificates which will be followed with some real world work experience, with any luck anyway. The plan is to start cultivating the contacts and experiences in the restoration world that will position me as a vintage/warbird restoration specialist.

There are other certificates and ratings I want to pick up along the way, most notably a senior parachute rigger certificate which ties in nicely to test piloting aircraft I restore. Another thing high on my list of certificates is to finish my flight instructor and instrument flight instructor tickets. It’s all part of the master plan that I have been working on since 2006.

Sometimes it is hard to believe I have been a pilot since 2004. I want to finish of my first decade as a pilot by reaching several aviation goals but time is quickly slipping away. The AMT program will wrap July of 2013, that will give me till ether April 24 2014, the anniversary of my first flight as a student, or October 11 2014, the date I earned my private pilot certificate. Most likely I’ll run with the October date. That will give me 15 months to reach my other goals after earning my A&P. Hey, all it takes is money and time, right?

FlyBoyJon’s First Decade of Flight Goals

As you can see I am a little better than half way there. It has certainly been an an interesting decade for me and I am looking forward to several more with a lot more aviation.

✔ Private Pilot
✔ Instrument Rating
✔ Commercial Pilot
✔ Advanced Ground Instructor
✔ Instrument Ground Instructor
O Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic
O Flight Instructor
O Instrument Flight Instructor
O Senior Parachute Rigger

As always my friends, blue skies and tailwinds,

Counting down to AMT School

Time has been flying by at an alarming rate and not in a good way. I have lots of day job stuff to get done and a short time to do it all. Motivation is sorely lacking on the mundane tasks that just need to get done. I really need to get boots on the ground to get it all done.

I haven’t had a lot to post about airplane project wise, but I have been working on my welding and composite skills for day job projects. With everything going on, the workshop has become a bit of a mess and needs another good cleaning. I only have 20 more days to get it all done because AMT school starts in three weeks.

Aside from wrestling with the lack of motivation I have been working through some technology issues for the home network. We changed ISP’s from Comcast to AT&T just shy of two weeks ago. HUGE mistake. I don’t really like ether one but in the battle of the lesser evils, Comcast wins this round.

We DSL for many years. Our line was one of the first ones in our area nearly 15 years ago, back then it was awesome. Over time service became cludgy and outages more and more frequent. We tried to go with a higher level of service but they couldn’t get good service out to us because of our distance from the switching station. Enter Comcast about 5 years ago. The service is much faster but Comcast filters some traffic for load balancing every now and then and they prioritize traffic flows in ways that don’t benefit me (selfish I know).

Since it had been some time since we switched to broadband and technology has improved over the years, Pac Bell, our original DSL provider became SBC, then AT&T, we thought the equipment in the field might have improved a bit. No such luck. Our connection was almost as slow as dial-up! Okay, that might be an exaggeration but it did take 15 minutes to load a 5 minute video and Netflix was constantly stopping and restarting, a problem we did not have with Comcast.

Saturday night I called Comcast to see what it would take to get back on line with them. I still had all of the equipment so after a 15 minute phone call we were back on line with them and our internal network was completely switched over. I was very pleased with the results of the call. With everything switched over and running back up to speed I called, well tried to call, AT&T to cancel service.

After navigating there Byzantine help system I managed to find an article on how to cancel service. The 800 number has two notes; call during business hours (Monday through Friday 8-5 Central) and In order to route your call quickly please say “cancel service” when prompted. NOT.

The first call (yes, first call) took me through there again Byzantine phone-cyborg who routed me to the wrong department who then routed me through another phone-cyborg loop which eventually put me on hold for several minutes before hanging up on me. The second call routed me better, I think the system is trained to recognize certain phrases including expletives. Once with the right department I was put on hold for 53 minutes before an agent answered the phone.

By this time I was at the point I really wanted to bite someones head off. Seeing as it isn’t the agents fault, and with the system that busy, it’s likely that most of there other callers were pissed off and they didn’t need my help in getting into a bad mood, I played it cool. The agent was very pleasant and took care of the task at hand quickly. At least the last five minutes of the ordeal was not bad. Unless AT&T runs fiber right up to my modem for free, they wont see my business again any time soon.

On the good news side of things and having a bit to do with aviation, I redid the header graphics for the site, go ahead scroll back to the top of the page if you need to but it’s just a little house cleaning. I did make some changes to the social network links. I removed the Foursquare link, mainly because I don’t think I will be using it that much longer. I added a new graphic and link to Google+. If your scratching your head saying “What’s Google+?” take a look here.

I am hoping to do more with G+ in the future. There are some great tools for group sharing and communications. If you are interested in G+ but need an invitation please let me know and I will be happy to invite you. So far I find it very promising and I am looking forward to seeing what they have in store before it is released into the wild.

Until next time, blue skies and tailwinds,

Fitness – Mind, Body, & Soul

In my quest to be one of those old guys working from a nearly forgotten airfield out in the middle of nowhere, restoring aircraft thought lost forever to the ravages of time, I have been restoring myself, bring the old crate up to date.

We Can Do ItOf course there is school, and degrees are important after a fashion, but the real meat and potatoes education was from flight school, soon from AMT school, and there will be other schools too as I move forward eventually earning some sheepskin. If only one thing were true about aviation it would be that you are never really “out of school”, it’s a lifelong commitment to learning, maybe not in the classroom, but still a lot of learning.

This post is not so much about the continuous pursuit of knowledge in all things aeronautical, no this post is about personal growth, and like the never ending commitment of aviation, personal growth is a lifelong exploration as well.

While preparing for this career path, I committed to making some changes in my life. I am a big guy, always have been always will be, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Over in the sidebar you may notice a Health and Fitness tab and under that tab a box, today that box reads 37 pounds lost. At 323 pounds, I am at my lowest weight in nearly two decades, but there is a long way still to go. Ultimately I am shooting for 200, which by the way would be my lowest weight since elementary school. I wrestled when I was in Jr. High in the 280+ weight class.

A big part of this has been altering my way of thinking. I have had to replace an ill conceived thought process about what “waste” and “saving” are. This old, mental attitude invoked hording and stockpiling impulses making me think that a filled plate or a filled garage was was a good thing. This thought process could have been applied to nearly anything. “If I don’t take it all now, I might not have the chance later” it’s just wrong headed. One step in the process has been learning to let go of perfectly good clothing that just doesn’t fit, too big or too small, it doesn’t matter. With the frequent changes in size, most of my clothes come from a second-hand store these days anyway so even if I rotated my entire wardrobe annually it would be at a pretty low cost and I donate cloths back when they no longer fit.

While I’m on the subject of clothes; anyone who has known me since high school can tell you I very rarely went out without some sort of loose over-shirt, sweater or jacket of some kind. It could have been 120 in the shade and I would most likely have had a jacket on. This was totally a body image thing that I have struggled with my whole life. I am still a big guy and still have those body image moments once in a while. Since the beginning of 2011 when I started this weight loss plan I have been going out in t-shirts, in public, with lots of people around! For most of you this may not sound like a big deal but this was a huge mental shift for me. I am not planning on running around in a speedo any time… well… ever, and I apologize for the image, but being free from the self imposed torment of jackets and flannel during the summer swelter is very liberating.

All of this freedom to go out into the world makes it much easier to get out and exercise which is of course helping shift my body chemistry along with the dietary changes. Lower blood pressure, faster pulse recovery, longer endurance, less pain, no insomnia, no depression, the list of quality-of-life improvements seems to grow longer every day.

With AMT school starting in 51 days (yes, I am counting) I’m looking forward to seeing how this new healthier me does in the study department.

There are always more things to do and ways to improve. In my case, the slow and steady application of change works well and I look forward to a regular cycle of New & Improved editions of me.

Until next time, blue skies and tail winds,


The best laid schemes…

As Robert Burns once said “The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew.”

My plans for a weekend of building have not matured in the way I had hoped. Saturday was a day-long game of wait and see with the auto-mechanic working on the chariots transmission. A couple of weeks ago we had a transaxle replaced along with seals and boots because a tear in one of the old boots allowed debris in damaging several parts. Amongst the replaced parts was a seal on the back side of the transmission. Apparently all of the after market parts that were supposed to fit, didn’t.

Saturday I took it back in to have the leak checked out; this is when all of the details reviled themselves. Now here I am ready to walk back to the shop at moments notice having waisted the day away by not getting too involved with anything.

On the good side I managed to get caught up on my magazine reading including my first issue of Warbirds which finally arrived so I have been scouring it from cover-to-cover with the occasional break to peruse one of my other magazines. One of the advantages of being a member of several organizations is the constant supply of new reading materials throughout the month.

Sunday was a little better in that I managed to get into the shop. I didn’t work on the airplane at all, but I did clean up the shop. Over the last couple of weeks I had picked up a few things at Harbor Freight Tools and at Orchard Supply that needed to find new homes in shop and one thing that needed to be assembled.

HFT had a three piece brass mini-plain set, round and flat spoke shaves, and a flat plain that I have been looking for so I bought them, Sunday I found homes for them in the shop. OSH had a cool looking drill press add-on called the Universal Drill Press Work Center by Craftsman. I put it together today though I have not installed it on the drill press.

Universal Drill Press Work CenterThe reviews on the Craftsman website are not kind at all, and I can certainly see where the complaints are coming from, especially for a piece of equipment billed as “professional”. But here’s the thing, I paid less than half the retail price and I’m not expecting much. The main reason I got it was because it has a fence that will keep holes lined up from the edge and it significantly increases the size of the drill press table, the two man things I need.

I don’t know how well it is going to work out but I am willing to give it a shot.

This week is end/beginning of the month so it is a busy time around these parts. February has been a very slow month for the airplane. After a solid 27.5 hours in January the measly 5 hours of February seem a bit pitiful. As they say, life happens. Better luck next month.

Until next time, blue skies and tail winds.

too much going on…

Wow, it has been way too long since I last posted. My sincere apologies to you. School has been keeping me very busy. I started out with five classes and ended up dropping one, as it turns out that was a really good move.

The hitch in my giddy-up? My choices in scheduling. The original plan was to spread things out over the week, one or two classes a day four days a week, this turned out to be a bad idea. I was hoping to leave plenty of time for work, ya… right. With everything spread out, I am always scrambling for something and there is always something due.

Next term I will be trying a new schedule format, all of my classes on one or two days back to back. I would make for one or two crazy days a week, but less transit time and more focus time. Thats the idea anyway.,

While I am on the subject of school, some interesting developments have been brewing. First off, I have been elected as President of the SJCC Philosophy Club. I have gotten a few quizzical looks from people when they find out my major is Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering and I am hanging around with the philosophy and theology majors. It is rather amusing actually.

Along with my Philosophy Club activities I have been given some interesting opportunities. One in particular will get at least my foot in the door at San Jose State University a full year and a half earlier than expected. There is a really interesting program in the new Global Studies department that is participating with the Soliya project and I have been invited to be one of the students involved. This would mean registering as a SJSU student, which by the was is awesome.

Why is this awesome? Well for one, I have been wanting to join Alpha Eta Roe, an aviation professional fraternal organization and it would make life much easier if I was a student at a chartered school, SJSU. Another reason is that I am planning on transferring to SJSU once I finish my General AA at San Jose City College to pursue my BS and MS in engineering. It just sort of tidies things up a bit.

Another education thing going on is that I am hoping to wrap up that ongoing drama filled AS in Aviation Operations at Mountain State University that I started in 2006. If I can just squeeze one class in per term there while taking one class per term at SJSU and three or four classes at SJCC I can get that one done too. Thats a lot of schooling going on.

This is why it has been a little while since my last post. On an aviation note, I did pick up some new plains at my newly-opened Harbor Freight Tools. It made my tool-geek heart skip a beat when I saw that they were finally opening a store closer than 30 miles away. This one is less than a mile! WOOT!


Things are leveling off in my schedule as I get back into the academic swing, so I expect to be back in the shop this weekend. With even a small bit of luck I will have something to post about on Monday, so stay tuned for next weeks exciting episode.

Until then, blue skies and tailwinds.