Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Yet again.

At least the agent was complimentary.

"Thank you for sharing your manuscript with me. It's a fun, fast read, but I regret I didn't connect with Schmitty himself and so don't think I'd be the best match.

Good luck with your search."

I'm throwing a pity party, but doubt anyone will show. After I pick myself up I need to get back to work. I hadn't mentioned that I'd had a request for the full manuscript for fear of jinxing it. It's not that I'm superstitious, I just didn't want Karma spinning its wheels in the wrong direction.

An Outline Or A Story

I've been reading lots of writer's blogs today. There are so many of us working on our first or second novels, still feeling our way through the process. I posted yesterday about finally being ready to outline my next book. All the blog surfing today got me thinking about the outline process. Outline is the wrong word for what I do. I write the story. Just the basic story. No description, no dialogue, just what happens.

Is this what others do? I don't know, but it works for me. When I wrote the original outline for Schmitty the Pirate it was over 9200 words. From there, I expanded it to a 122,000 word behemoth of a first novel attempt.

I did the same for the next Schmitty, which is now the first Schmitty, while the original Schmitty is planned to be the fourth Schmitty. It sounds a bit George Lucas, but I plan not only to publish them in order, but to make each one better than the next.

Having a story outline allows me to really learn the story so that the writing is easy. Since I know it so well, it flows onto the page. I can change it if necessary, and have. But if I don't know the story before beginning, writing is a much greater challenge.

So the question isn't outline or no outline. It's outline or story?

When Do You Write?

It's been said by writers that writing is a full time job. I imagine that's true for people whose full time job is writing. But what about the rest of us? After working 8, 9 or 10 hours, a little family time, showers and meals, not to mention sleep, when do those of us trying to make it as writers actually have time for our craft?

I ask not to complain, because I certainly don't fit the above description. I'm fortunate to have a job which actually pays me to sit at home, sometimes for days, or weeks, with nothing but time to write. Many published authors state that they write for 8 hours, every day. They go to their writing room just like others go to work, and stay there until the end of their day.

I can't do that. I've tried. Sometimes I'm successful, but other times I find if I'm not in the mood to write, or the story's not flowing through my veins, I won't get much accomplished. The most I ever got done was during three months early this year when I was based in another city for work. I had to be there, just in case, so I rented a house with 8 other people. Fortunately the library was a short walk and always empty. I spend all day, every day that I could, and accomplished more in three months than in my previous three years of writing. Since I've been home, not so much.

So I ask, when do you write? Early morning? Late at night? In a park? In a room without a view?

I do my best work in the afternoon. How about you?

Trammell and Whitaker and Magnum

Before last night's Tiger game they celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 1984 World Series team. It got me nostalgic and I stumbled across this. They weren't very good actors, but they were sure fun to watch on the field. Too bad this year's team is about to blow it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And Now, Back to Our Story

I made a profound discovery this morning.

Several months back, I put the finishing touches on Schmitty the Pirate and Grimstoke's Curse. I shined it up, packaged it with a bright red bow and sent if off to submission limbo, where it awaits an offer for representation. In the meanwhile, writing should have commenced on the sequel. I was geared up to start even before the last words were in place in the manuscript for Book One. I made detailed notes of how I wanted to start and certain things I expected to happen in the story.

But then I got sidetracked by the submission process. It's daunting and exhausted my creativity. By the time I was ready to write again, I had new ideas for a completely different story outside the Schmittyverse. I spent a few guilt-ridden weeks on that, having abandoned my firstborn. And, I had an idea for something else inside the Schmittyverse, that would help me put together the story I should be working on.

There were times when all three stories vied for my attention. I had to pick one project to work on. But which ? After years of devotion to Schmitty, I felt I deserved a break and should focus for a while on the new, unrelated story. But guilt kept me coming back to Schmitty. I should work on Book Two. But that other project, which focuses on minor characters, heretofore only briefly mentioned in Grimstoke's Curse, had an important backstory that needed to be told. If I didn't finish it, I wouldn't know what to do.

In writing Grimstoke's Curse, and the original Schmitty the Pirate, which I'm now planning for Book Four, I outlined extensively. Some have said outlining takes away from the writing, so I have tried these new projects without outlining. Guess what? It doesn't work for me. For something this important, I need the structure.

Today, it all came together. Outlining the back story led me through the past and into the future. I now know how these stories tie together and a more thorough outline of Book Two can start to form. Before long, I'll be thousands of words in and if luck holds, that all important call from the agent will come, and they'll ask, "What else have you got?"

I'll have my answer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Nice Captain - In a New York Minute

In my travels, I've encountered a wide variety of characters. Most have been seated just to my left, the captains to my first officer. And what a strange array I've had to deal with. For the most part, I've gotten along with them. In fact, even those I couldn't stand, I still got along with. It's easier that way.

I've dealt with surfer dudes, racists, hillbillies, car nuts, song and dance men, nazis, airheads, religious freaks, countless other weirdos I can't recall and at least one pyschopath who offered to slap me.

We've had some odd conversations, and sometimes no conversations. The weird part of my job is I rarely work with the same person twice. Once we move past the usual, "How long have you worked here?" "Do you commute?" "Any kids?" we tend to into the wierd part. And sometimes it isn't what they say, but what they do.

I just got off a trip with perhaps the nicest man I've ever worked with. As captains go, he was a peach; complimentary, cordial, and made sure I was involved in every decision, which is how it's supposed to be, but isn't always.

But, he too had his quirk.

He carried with him a file folder about three inches thick. In it are tidbits of information about every city we fly to. You know how you'll be on a flight, trying to read, or sleep or watch a movie, and the pilot will come on to make an announcement, interrupting said book, nap or film? Usually it's a quick blurb about the weather and arrival time. Or a reminder to put your seat belt on. It generally takes a few seconds, but that brief interruption is enough to make you sigh audibly, role your eyes and curse under your breath. Well, you better hope you're not on board when this very nice man pulls out his file folder.

Forget everything you were doing, or had planned on doing. You'll be spending the next quarter hour listening to a thoroughly prepared and polished presentation on your destination. I must admit, for me to sit there next to him and listen to his speech is intricately more enjoyable than the typical conversations, or silence, I normally have. I like learning stuff and when I'm up front I don't have the luxury of reading a book or falling asleep.

Still, I found myself laughing each time he started his spiel, promising to give it in a New York minute. I wasn't sure how long a New York minute was, but it must be something like when people say God couldn't have made the world in seven days. Others will argue a day for God is longer than 24 hours. In that respect, a New York minute is more like fifteen.

Even when he said he was wrapping it up, he kept on going. Several times I heard mention of a video tape or DVD set available. I wondered what the folks in the back were thinking, but as they deplaned I heard more compliments and thank you's than ever before.

I may sound cynical from time to time here, but I truly enjoyed this guy. I hope I get to work with him again. It's nice to be around nice people. And it's nice to be nice to the nice. I'm going to try it some time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cleveland Sucks

The Cleveland Indians that is. I like the city. How many people have ever said that? I'm in Detroit (my hometown) on a layover so I get to watch the Tigers/Indians game on the telly. All I'm seeing is Detroit homeruns.

Over the summer I visited some dear friends who live in Cleveland and we went to an Indians game. There was a photographer taking fan pictures to put on the Indan's website. My friend was so embarrassed to be at the game he refused to let the guy take his picture. But I am now considered a True Fan and you can see my pic here. (since I don't know how to steal pics off the web)

True Fans

In case any old friends take a look, my face may appear a bit rounder than you remember, but at least those aren't my thighs.

And the Tigers just scored again.

Notre Dame Dumbass

Apparently knowing your school colors isn't a prerequisite at Notre Dame, where this tool jumped into the other team's band to celebrate a touchdown. It's all good though. I applied to Michigan State and didn't get in. Hopefully some of their band geeks were knocked down. This a week after Central Michigan, my alma mater, beat them at the last second.

Not that I care.

Tee hee hee...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Frackin' Contacts

Let's be honest. No one likes a four-eyes. Oh, we can be civil when they're around, praising they're smarts and assuring them they have a winning personality. But as soon as their backs are turned we snicker like there's no tomorrow, ensuring they will always be one step down on the social ladder, even though, by all accounts, people who wear glasses are smarter, more successful economically and they live longer as a result of less socializing, ie; less boozing, less exposure to sun; less exposure to drunk drivers.

So, about a year ago, when I lost my job, I found my mini-mid-life crisis. I started growing my hair longer. I wore cooler clothes. And I finally shed my glasses in favor of contacts. I was a new man. Heck, the new me even got the old me's job back. Life was good.

It wasn't my first attempt at contacts. That was a hatchet job some years earlier that went so horribly wrong I felt doomed to a lifetime of servitude meant only for those so undeserving of what little they may have already achieved, they were destined to a lifetime of disappointments.

Case in point.

I decided to train to be an airline pilot. Shortly thereafter terrorists attacked the United States using airplanes, bankrupting the airlines and setting my career path off track. Several years passed and I finally made it to the lowly rung of commuter airline pilot. I paid my dues, sleeping on couches or lounge chairs in airport basements, rarely making it home, only to be too tired to enjoy my brief days off before having to rush off to work again. Bases closed and opened up closer to home. Before long, I was within driving distance. I had gained seniority. I was ready to upgrade to Captain and enjoy a lovely pay raise. And then, I got fired for going to a fracking job fair.

I crawled back to the old flight school, which offered me a job. I gave up my shiny new jet for a beat up prop plane, flying to the islands and occasionally instructing. I was home for dinner every night. I slept in my own bed every night. My commute was a ten minute drive. I made good money. And then, I got an offer to fly an even shinier, even newer, even bigger jet, just down the street for even more money. I took it.

And less than a year later, oil hit a $147 a barrel. Everyone panicked. I was laid off. I grew my hair and shed my glasses.

Now, if you've never worn contacts, they're supposed to adhere to the cornea, suctioned in place by the natural moisture of the eyes. I was, to say the least, apprehensive about trying this. The first time you try them, your eyes are dialated, making everything a blur that can leave some people feeling a bit woozy and nauseated. I only got one in before deciding it wasn't for me but the mean lady at the eye doctor's office started yelling at me. I mean she was nasty, berating me for not giving it enough time to work. I had to be patient, she shouted. STOP WASTING HER TIME.

Lord knows what made me try it again, other than the lack of anything good in my life at that time. But low and behold, a gentle, reassuring attitude and a bit of patience from the staff at the new doctor's office got me through it and I was glasses free. It was time to let the world see me without stigma.

The benefits of contacts are enormous. You can wear them in the shower. You can wear them swimming and see the pretty people on the beach. You can wear them during sex. Yes, life is good.

But there is a downside. Varying degrees of eyesight are assigned numbers. They make contacts to correspond to certain numbers. But it turns out, my right eye falls between the numbers they make. Sometimes my right eye is blurry. Also, because the contacts are soft, they are flexible. They can fold up and when they do, it's hard to know which side is which. Wear them backwards and it's unpleasant, but at least you know straightaway and can turn them over.

Because of their flexibility, contact lenses can have a habit of moving around on the eye. Now, I've become far more comfortable touching my eyeball than I ever thought possible. The eye can take quite a bit and I'm no longer squeamish, but there is another problem that still nauseates me.

Sometimes, if the contact doesn't adhere to my eyeball just right, it feels like its loose, or folding up, or floating around. I rub and I rub, trying to make it seal. I use drops and take it out, putting it back in to get it right. And sometimes, after all that, the lens can disappear.

Because my right eye is sometimes blurry, I don't always notice it's missing its lens, but something feels wrong. There is an irritation I can't pin down. And then, I realize what it is. My contact has folded up and gotten sucked inside my eye socket, out of sight behind my eyeball.

I jest not. This just happened. It's happened before, once in a cockpit. Not a good place to be digging around inside one's eye. Fortunately today it happened at home, but for goodness sakes, I couldn't locate the thing. Usually, and it's only happened a couple of times, it slides off to the side, folded over, poking out the corner of my eye. Not today. I pulled back my lids and examined best I could through my blurry vision. Nothing. I couldn't have dropped it. I could feel it evading me.

Finally, I spotted it on top of my eyeball, out of reach, behind my lid. I couldn't pull it out, it was too far in. There was nothing to grab. I wasn't even certain I was really seeing it. I couldn't live with it there forever. My stomach was churning. I felt the bile rise in my throat. I began to sweat and my knees went weak. I only had the strength for one try.

With trembling hands, I unscrewed the top to the eye drops. With bent knees, I tilted my head back, stretching my eyelid to the limits of elasticity, flooding my socket with as much light as I could. The dropper hovered over my eye, and I summoned the strength to squeeze. One. Two. Three drops.

My eye red from irritation, I blinked away the drops, and the elusive contact lens was flushed free. I popped it back in, and it worked fine.

Still, I sometimes long for the ease of spectacles. Take 'em off. Put 'em on. Pretty simple. Until you realize their cost. I'd rather look good than feel good. But I think I'll take the rest of the week off.

Curb is Back and All is Right with the World - Sort of

This Sunday marked the return of the funniest show on television, Curb Your Enthusiasm, on HBO. For those living in trailers, Curb follows the life of Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, in his post Seinfeld life. In case you've never seen it, I highly recommend you do. If you don't have the kind of sense of humor to enjoy it, I don't expect your reading this blog.

I've noticed quite a few similarities between myself and Larry's fictionalized version of himself. On a few occasions we even shared similar experiences. Of course Larry's solutions to problems are far more outrageous than anything I would attempt in real life. My hope is to some day be wealthy enough not to care what people think and to say and do whatever I want, much like Larry.

I found myself in another Larry-like situation this week. On the show, Larry was invited to a dinner party, but when he asked who else was going to be there, the hostess admonished his breach of social etiquette. As a result, Larry mentioned the party to a mutual friend who it turns out wasn't invited, thus setting off a chain of events that set the stage for a season's worth of disasters to come. I now face a similar dilemma.

My critique group gets together every couple weeks for a pot luck dinner at someone's house. I can't often attend because of work, but this week I'm available and let it be known I make a delicious garlic roasted potato dish. I made certain to ask what was on the menu in case it wasn't something potatoes went well with. Thus, I've recieved no answer other than one person commenting on how delicious my potatoes sounded.

So what do I do? Do I bring the potatoes and risk ruining the harmony of an otherwise thoroughly planned and executed menu? Or do I show up empty handed, exposing myself to the judgment of my peers?

Perhaps a nice bottle of wine. Of course that requires a trip to the store, and the spending of money. And I don't know the first thing about wine. Do I get red or white? And then there are all these subcategories - chardonnay, merlot, chianti...I'ven't a clue.

It all makes my head spin. Sometimes having friends is too much work. I like it better when no one likes me. Those expectations are easy to live up to.

Maybe I should be more like Larry, who, when he didn't want to go to a party, showed up the next night, pretending he was on time. I could act embarrassed, and try to leave because I didn't want to impose. But surely they would say, "Come on in. You have no plans. You're supposed to be here. Help us eat the leftovers."

What could be worse than a party full of people judging you?

A party of one where I'm the main attraction.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Frackin' Catholics

Okay, before you strike me down to Hell, just know I'm one of them. Yes, 12 years of catholic school resulted in the cynicism of this blog. But don't worry, I've already got reservations in Hell for far worse than this. (if you ask my brother he'll say it's because I'm catholic.)

It's been almost twenty years since I escaped the godawful institution known as High School, and since then, I'ven't had a single dealing with that place. But private schools must have some serious covert operations keeping track of people, because no matter where I am, they find me. In the last two decades I've moved half a dozen times, held countless jobs and relocated across the country. Yet they always know where I am.

Why are they looking for me?

They want my money. For weeks I've been getting emails and postcards asking that I update my personal information so they'll know how to reach me. Today I got a thick brochure titled - Honor Roll of Investors. Translation - these are the people so successful in life they credit us, the all boys private catholic high school, with making them the men they are today so they're willing to shell out ridiculous sums of money because the outrageous tuition we charge isn't enough to keep the priests out of the locker room.

In this booklet they list the names of donors to the school. But they break them into groups, based on the amount donated and call them clubs.

For $25,000 you can join an exclusive club whose members number as many corporations as individuals, but I assure you they are all the blue-bloods I couldn't stand - trust fund babies whose daddies got them jobs working for their country club buddies.

I've never been rich, though I'd like to give it a try. Even so, I won't be joining any of these clubs any time soon.

What was I doing there?

Suffering. Maybe that will get me into Heaven.

Poem of the Day

Don't expect this to be a regular feature. I have no affinity for poetry whatsoever. I dug this up from an old college writing class. I found it's most appreciated when read aloud to a large female audience.

"I've got eight inches."
"Eight? I've only got six."
"I see. Well six just won't be enough."
"Do you think she'll be able to handle eight inches? She's kind of small."
"Look, we want to make a big impression, don't we? If we don't have enough she'll forget us. Trust me. Eight inches."
"But look. Mine's all ready to go!"
"Well then wash it off. Don't waste any more."
"Eight inches? Are you sure?"
"Trust me. We want some left over."
"Okay. We'll cook with your skillet."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A New Beginning

After reading a few other blogs, other than the few I ever read, I realize I didn't start this one very well. So consider my previous posts like the coming attractions at the movies (sometimes the best part of the experience, but hopefully not here.)

And now for my first post.

I'm a writer, trapped in a pilot's body. As one might expect, a degree in Broadcast and Cinematic arts surely lead to a career with the airlines, but there have been a few twists along the way. I've always been creative, but kept the real and imagined worlds separate. I've lived a rather ordinary life, with two cars, a house and a job. And a wife who puts up with the oddity of me.

As an airline pilot, I have lots of free time, much of it when I'm at work. If not while the autopilot is flying the plane, than when my life drips away in various hotel rooms across the land. And so, I find myself wandering the strange worlds of my mind.

I never did much with this until a few years ago. Sure, I wrote a lot in school. I wrote short stories, screenplays and even developed a TV show, but once real life hit, it all got filed away. That was until about four years ago.

Who would have thought an innocent trip to a theme park would have such a profound effect? (Although thinking about it now, two guys in their mid thirties running around a fun park sounds more than a wee bit creepy.) Well, it was on that day a good friend said something that left an image in my head I couldn't shake. I was hit by a vision of a character who's story needed to be told. Right then and there, Schmitty the Pirate was born. (Actually the complete story is a bit different. I'll save it for another time.)

As the character evolved, the story around him changed quite dramatically. I wrote and re-wrote and wrote some more. Luckily, I had plenty of time. If I didn't say so before, the best part of being an airline pilot is all the free time. It's not uncommon for weeks to pass before I actually have to fly a plane. All the while, I'm on full salary, free to pass the time however I choose. To be honest, I'm not always that disciplined. And I'm easily distracted. And as I overheard one time and fully believe, pilots, by nature, are generally lazy people.

Well, laze be damned. I wrote a book. Then, I set it aside. Got a new job. Training was actual work. Several months passed and I came back to revise Schmitty once more. And, as I already knew, I didn't like the beginning.

In my attempt to write a new beginning, a whole new story emerged, set several years earlier than the first. I now had the beginning of a series I had envisioned somewhere along the way, and I must say, it was a much better story.

So, four years after that fateful day in the fun park, I'm ready for the real world to enter the fictional world of Schmitty the Pirate and Grimstoke's Curse.

And that, as they say, is where the easy part ends. Because now I find myself researching literary agents, writing query letters in the hope one of them will be fooled enough to take a look at my manuscript. In the meantime, life flies by. New stories, in new worlds formulate. Sequels take shape. I actually go to work once in a while. And, I've decided to share my journey in this blog.

It's not all about writing. There's a heck of a lot on these interwebs, so expect to see that which entertains me, and, hopefully, you. If I think it's funny, and I won't get sued, I'll post it. Along the way, I'll write about whatever it is I'm doing.


Well That Was Brilliant

I actually got to work today sending out queries. I e-queried two agents and after the second one realized I hadn't included any contact information on either of them. Thus demonstrates the dangers of taking the time to write each one specifically for each agent. Alas, I sent them both follow ups, copying the original with my contact info. Is it too soon to scratch these two off the list?

A New Round of Submissions

Today was supposed to be a day spent sending out queries to the next batch of agents. So far it's going about how I expected, meaning I haven't done anything yet. It's a daunting task, for those who don't know. It's more than just copying an email, or pasting a different name into a form letter. I thoroughly research everyone I submit to, often reading some of the other books they represent to see if they'd be a good match. On a good day I'll get two queries out. On a really good day I'll send them via FedEx, but that has yet to yield results. Fortunately, because my airline allows FedEx pilots to ride for free they give me a 75% discount on shipping. It typically only costs about $6 to send something from Florida to New York. Still, I've yet to see a return on my investment, except that my self addressed stamped envelopes are being used for rejection letters. Yay.

Megan Fox in a Bag

I don't know anything about this chick. Never seen her act, but from what I've read she ain't all that. I don't know if this is real, but if it isn't, she's better than she's given credit for. Awkward.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You Pick Up Ten Minute

Chinese take-away. Always good. Always ready on time. Except it's not. Every time I order from this place they say it'll be ready in ten minutes. It's five minutes away, so I get there in ten minutes. And everytime I walk in, they start cooking my food. Still beats making it myself.

Space Shuttle Landing

This is a bit hard to see until they're close to the ground. I especially like the banter at the beginning about not having the weather report. I've landed in a few third world countries with no control tower and any info you get is sketchy at best.

A Strange World

I'm living in a land I don't care much for. It's that space between novel completion and agent acceptance known as the Land of Submissions. It's a wide open space, indistinct, with distant horizons offering no hope of change.

I wait, daily, for a rush of praise, as countless agents beat each other back for the honor to represent my work. At least, I used to wait daily. Lately I expect nothing, and when I get that rare email, or that self addressed, stamped envelope finally making its way home, I think nothing of the words on the page. I've become numb to rejection.

But that's how they say this goes. Rejection is part of the deal. A big part. I get that. I accept it. But just once, I'd like a glimmer of hope. I still have some. After all, there are agents I've yet to hear from. Certainly they're taking their time, rubbing the dollar signs from their eyes as they peruse my prose. But then I think, no. If it was any good they'd have picked up the phone before finishing the first paragraph.

So I sit and wait, knowing I should be continuing to write every day. But I don't. At least not every day. I know the rule. But I break it. After all, I may have wasted the last four years pouring all of me into a story no one wants to read. And then I get encouragement. But it comes from people who love me, so I have no choice but to dismiss it.

And then I get a new idea, and it fights with the others for precious space in my mind. Can I work on three stories at once, or will they all suffer. As it is, a little is being done on each, but not much on any.

And just when I think it can't get any stranger, iTunes plays Pleasure Dome by Van Halen.

Into a world so far from home
Rooms without doors open for me
Taking me miles and miles from nowhere

Alas, I am lost in my own pleasure dome.

Someone tell me this is normal.

Monday, September 14, 2009

100% Useless

Well, there's six hours I wish I had back.

I should explain. My first post didn't offer much personal information, so here's some:

I am an airline pilot in real life. But please don't define me by how I pay my bills. In fact, close friends have been warned a severe haunting will plague anyone who spends more than a minute talking about flying at my funeral. It's simply what I do, not who I am.

Often when the plane is on autopilot, so am I. I'm fortunate to have a lot of time to think. I'm a good thinker, and many thoughts turn into stories. Because in imaginary life I am a writer. I write sometimes fun, sometimes disturbing, sometimes offensive. I'm given to understand I'm pretty good, and from time to time, when I can figure out how, I will post some of my prose here.

Unfortunately, writing has yet to pay my bills. And today I had to fly.

I figured, no big deal. I've been off for two weeks - not on vacation, but sitting on call and not flying. Don't worry about my finances, I get paid to do nothing. Occasionally, I get called to fly. And when I do, I share a tiny space with someone I barely know, or sometimes have never met, for hours, and sometimes days, at a time.

Today was easy, a quick flight to Jamaica and back. Less than an hour and a half each way. Home in time for dinner. And stuck in the cockpit with one of the biggest wastes of humanity I've ever encountered.

I last flew with this guy about a year ago, just after I learned I was getting laid off. This economy hits everywhere, and I was lucky to get my job back, but at the time I didn't know I would. Well, everything in the airlines is seniority based, and while I didn't have enough to stay employed, Captain Jackass was swearing up a storm about being forced back to the right seat.

An aside:

In the airline world, captains sit on the left and make more money, first officers sit on the right. Don't ask why, just accept it. I am a first officer (not a co-pilot. Don't ever say co-pilot. It's as offensive as the n-word) so I sit in the right seat, but we both do the same job. Of course sometimes, since I only get half the pay, I only do half the work.

So while this guy goes on about his woes, I quietly mentioned how I was about to lose my job and didn't care much for his problems. Fast-forward a year to today and we're back together for the first time. Of course he doesn't remember me, because he's one of those people who's too wrapped up in himself to care about anyone else. The type who only talks about themself and doesn't ask anything about you, which is just as well since if they asked, they might find out about this blog and then see what I really think.

Well, he hadn't changed, even announcing so much in his preflight brief. By the book keeps you out of trouble. By the book, he is not. However, if you read the book on stereotypical airline pilots with big egos and big mouths, he is by that book. Sexist, rude, obnoxious, can-do-no-wrong because he has thirty years experience and I'm just some young dope who should be happy to spend time amongst his greatness, he is a walking example of the argument against raising the mandatory retirment age for pilots.

Oh, and the guy is a Nazi. Literally, he told me proud stories of his father in the SS during WWII.

So while he's totally distracted by everything except his job, I'm find myself being both captain and first officer. An example:

The climb checklist calls for the captain to turn off the landing lights. He reads it, but doesn't do it. I notice, so I turn them off. He sees me do it and makes remarks how I think I'm better than him because I caught him not doing his job. Now, this may seem like a small thing, but when your constantly changing who you fly with, standardization is a must, or lots of people will die. It's standard that the captain turns off the lights. It always happens that way. It's not a big deal that I did it today, but he made it a big deal. Then he made it a bigger deal after landing when he forgot to turn them off again, because he distracted himself again, and I did it, again. This time, however, he didn't see me do it, and when he looked up and saw them off made a point of telling me he did it.

I could go on a while, but then I'd be like him, never shutting up. And boy the things he said, like asking me why I didn't shave today. I did shave, and told him so. It just happens I have a Fred Flinstone face. The kind that looks unshaven even when it is. I have dark hair and pointed out it's more visible than his white hair. He wouldn't hear it, even reaching out to touch my face to see if it felt stubbly. Believe me, the things I want to say and do during these moments are far worse than what I actually say or do. But when you have to be stuck with this person and face the possiblity of working with them again and again, it's easier to let things slide. (I should have said, "I have a skin condition Asshole, thanks for making me feel worse about it." Why don't I ever think these things in the moment?)

So between him not paying attention to his job, the shaving comment, calling the Jamaican ground crew n****rs and expressing his desire to rape the flight attendant, I was about done. I'd leave it there, but the best part came as we passed through Customs. There was a little girl, maybe three years old, in her dad's arms and Captain Dumbass thought she was cute and asked if he could take her home. Dad laughed, reveling in the compliment and asked the little girl if she wanted to go home with him. She reeled back, narrowing her eyes, the corners of her lips turned down, and in the tiniest of groans shook her head and said, "Uh-uh."

In three seconds, she summed up my whole day.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Not Much of a Start

This is bad, I know, but truthfully, I can't think of a single thing to say. No way to start this blog, but for God's sake, I've spent the last two days trying to come up with a name for this thing and by the time I found one I liked, it was taken.

Well, it's dinner time anyway and storms are rolling in. I'll come up with something after I eat. Or I'll be lazy.

Expect that to be a running theme.