Plane Bad Luck

Plane Bad Luck

It was like a scene out of ‘Ground Hog Day’, I opened my eyes and there was my phone on the seat next to me and I would reach for it and then everything went gray and it would start all over again. Each time a little bit more was added to the set, this last time for some reason I caught myself staring at the brochure in the pocket of the seat in front of me, maybe because when I opened my eyes I had been slumped forward and it was the first thing that I focused on. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer but this time the gray did not come or hadn’t come yet, I saw the seat, I saw my phone and then I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my abs. The gray began to take me and then receded and the pain returned with a vengeance, I squeezed my eyes tightly shut and waited for some relief.

Still maintaining a shaky balance between pain and nothing I tried to gather my thoughts and ran over some of the details of the past day. I remembered eating doner kebabs at Pasha Turkish and washing them down with a couple of beers at the Boxing Cat before rolling my Smove back to the hotel to rest up for the flight back to Honolulu from Shanghai, twelve hours in the air and a twelve hour layover between. Flight, that was the last thing I remember, I put my thongs in my checked bag so I wouldn’t have to do the dance in security and boarded the plane barefooted. I must have nodded off right after boarding, I don’t recall us taking off, but we must have.

Rain wasn’t the respite I was looking for but the cooling flow of water on my head and shoulders did take my mind off of the pain in my belly. Opening my eyes again went badly. The rain was coming down from above, where the roof of the plane was supposed to be. The rain was also soaking my phone, still in the seat next to me but this time, instead of reaching for it I looked down to see what was wrong with me. We weren’t in the air any more, with the exception of the rain there was no sound, no engines, no people, nothing, we had crashed and in doing so I had been thrown side to side violently enough for the seat belt buckle to open a bit and close down on a bit of belly flab. A two inch white line revealed itself when I opened the buckle and quickly turned an angry, dark purple, at least it hadn’t broken the skin, I guess.

Inventory, inventory, inventory, that was my new agenda, an agenda for survival. Immediately it came to mind that barefoot was great for sleeping, not so much for walking away from a plane wreck, that would be a top priority. I couldn’t see out the window next to me but it appeared that the seat row in front of me was the only one left, just crushed metal in that direction. The seats to my right, across the aisle looked as if a giant hand had grabbed them at either end and pulled and twisted until only mangled metal and bits of cloth were left, an overcast sky replaced the windows of the plane on that side. I finally grabbed my phone off of the seat next to me and turned to look behind me, a near perfect circle of nothing where the tail of the plane had been. I was alone. I did take comfort in the fact that my seat was next to the emergency exit over the left wing, so there was that.

My little piece of heaven had no ceiling and no people, therefore no overhead compartments or anyone to help scrounge together some sort of survival gear, all I had on me was my phone. Aaaand, no service. The GPS worked but without internet the map function was useless, just numbers. I guessed I was on an island somewhere in the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines, several hundred miles from my scheduled twelve hour layover in Hong Kong.

Turning the phone off to conserve the battery(why?) I crawled carefully over the twisted shreds of metal until I was standing on solid, if a little damp, ground. Other debris from the plane was likely strewn about and useful bits might be had before sunset if I was diligent in my search. There was no smoke marking any other sections of the aircraft, I thought that odd but widened my search. We had landed or at least come to rest in a smallish valley, undergrowth comparable to corn stalks or sugar cane, no real trees until you neared a sort of rise on three sides then a belt of canopied forest gave way to steeper rocky grades.

I wandered in a expanding oval of sorts until the overcast broke momentarily and the opening in the sky showed the faint hint of orange signaling the approach of sunset. Surprisingly my bare feet had been spared any rough treatment in my wanderings but fatigue and the onset of dehydration had me more than a little unsteady now. I turned my head at a far off noise just in time to see a glint of metal, just at the top of the foliage, a tiger had lost it’s footing on the smooth metal of the tail and hit the horizontal stabilizer loudly before sliding off onto the ground. A tiger.

Advertisements
These Are a Few Of  My Fave Things

These Are a Few Of My Fave Things

‘Le Buerre, Le Creme, L’Oeuf’, (pronounced loo-bear, lay-krem, loof) was my current fave resty and I had just finished a divine flamiche, a pie made of brioche dough filled with leeks, bacon, cream and Gruyere, a recipe Chef Demerick had collected from a pair of Picard gourmands during a backpacking trip across the continent several years back. I had just spied the dessert tray and a delightful looking croissant business that simply oozed what I assumed was a blackberry compotey goodness and was beginning to rise and start a silent arm-waving, gesturing to my waiter, bidding war as the woman two tables over had obviously seen it as well, when my phone rang. My waistline would live to fight my wardrobe another day, this call was important, a fave foodie friend who was also a detective was deep in the middle of something, something like murder.

On the outside it looked like a house fire. Flammable bedding caught fire from an as yet unidentified cause, the fire then spreading to window treatments likewise inflammable, etc., etc. All very run of the mill, very explainable, until we look under the hood. You’ll have to excuse that last bit, you see I am a major mystery buff, from reading pulp police procedurals to tightly woven detective fiction to the flood of TV detectives of whom Columbo was my all time fave. You see, Peter Falk proved to us rabid fans week in and week out that all one needed to solve the most complicated crimes was an old Peuguot, a dirty raincoat and half a cigar. And one more question. Worked every time.

The story so far was that Mrs. Rose, wife of Dr. Rose, wasn’t feeling well, had been asleep in the master bedroom upstairs when the fire started, was overcome by smoke inhalation and succumbed before first responders arrived and put out the blaze. A tragedy, pure and simple, how could it be anything else? Indeed.

According to my fave friend and detective buddy, the doctor was in his office when they called him to tell him about the fire. No red flags there. I even recognized the address, I had been in that neighborhood before, pretty swanky too if I remember, the kind of place that doesn’t have lawnmowers in the garage, they show up with large trailers full of grass grooming goodies and several helpers once a week, so the place looks nice for parties. I asked my friend if the doctor and his wife had any children at home and he said that they lived alone, except for a cat. Sounds legit. I told him to meet for some coffee at a local caffeinery that we liked and we could talk some more, he agreed.

One does not simply dive headfirst into convo when at a coffeeshop. One must respect the brew, to become one with the vibe of the place, the ‘roma. We were halfway through our first DV before we dared to speak(OK, you waited, good for you, Double Venti, there, feel better?)

‘Something is not right here. It gives me a funny feeling, you know?’ he started.

I did know, cut and dried was the fave expression. I didn’t like it either. ‘So who reported the fire?”

‘Gardeners across the street were finishing up when they were loading up the trailer, called it in. What are your thoughts?’

‘Nothing yet, first responders have anything to add?’

‘Nothing to hang my hat on, they pulled up, door was locked, cat was out front, you know the rest.’

Hmmm, I hmmmed. ‘Got any pictures?’, I asked. He did. He was enjoying this, I could tell.

Looking through the collection of photos on his phone the scene was pretty straight forward. The smoke blackened master bedroom windows were directly above the front door which was flanked on both sides by immaculately trimmed japanese holly. Inside, the scene in the bedroom was less distinct. What had been very thick, plush carpetting was burned down to the flooring in places, various bric-a-brac and assorted accoutrements were strewn about, ostensibly while removing the remains of Mrs. Dr. Rose, thank you whoever thought to leave that one out of the pile. One interesting thing about the master bedroom, it had it’s own fireplace. Working too, from the tongs and such littering the floor.

‘Can you get me an inventory of everything that was found in the floor?’ I asked.

‘Sure. You think there is something to that feeling I am having?’

Thinking back to the interruption earlier that day, ‘Yes, I do. And it will cost you dessert.’

After he stood up and took a step towards the exit I enquired, ‘Ask the good doctor if his wife was on any kind of medication, will you?’

After running a few errands I drove down to the station to meet up with my fave detective and see if I could get a ride to check out the scene with him. Upon walking up to the front of the house I noticed that the blackening of the window directly over the door was darker than the other side, that had not shown up in the photos, curiouser and curiouser. While my friend busied himself opening the front door and removing some of the police tape around it I noticed something else. I was kneeling down next to one of the holly bushes when he admonished me,’Whatever you are are about to touch, don’t! What are you about to touch, anyway?’

‘Looks like a cat toy. With some sort of thread or string tangled up in it, stuck in the holly bush here.’

‘Let me see that.’ He jostled me out of the way and began snapping pictures with his phone.

We went upstairs and looked at the mess that was once the master bedroom, comparing phone photos of the scene with the actual locations. At one point I asked,’Did you get that inventory?’

Yep. Nothing much there, fireplace tongs, brush, poker, oh and the deceased’s cell phone. Almost missed it too, it was melted into the carpet next to the bed.’

‘Let me guess. Between the bed and the fireplace?’

‘Yes.’ He looked at me kind of stragely, ‘Give!!’ he demanded.

‘Gonna cost you,’ I reminded him. Reluctantly, he shook his head.

OK. Here is what happened, but you will never be able to prove it. The cat did it. Earlier in the day, the good doctor came home to look in on the ailing wife, and make sure she had enough of something to keep her still when the fire started. Removing the back of the phone’s plastic case, he placed it on the floor next to some handy, flammable bedding. Next he arranged the fireplace poker so that it would fall onto the unprotected back of the phone, he tied a thread to the top of it and ran it out of the slightly open window and next to the holly bush by the front door. Then he tied a cat toy, the one I saw earlier, to the end of the string and put the cat outside to complete his cunning plan.’

‘You’ve lost me,’ he admitted.

‘By the numbers, then: 1. Wife is asleep in bed. 2. Cat plays with cat toy, pulling on string. 3. String pulls fireplace poker down onto cell phone. 4. Pointy part of fireplace poker pierces lithium battery in cell phone. 5. This is where it gets all Mr. Wizard-ey, when lithium battery guts are exposed to air they burst into flames..’ He stopped me there.

As he rushed out of the house, I reminded him, ‘Lou Bears, tonight, blackberry thingy, 8 o’clock!’

‘Where did that even come from?’ he wondered aloud.

‘Rube Goldberg’, I answered.

‘What?’

‘Doctors don’t always start out to be doctors. I’ll bet the esteemed Dr. Rose began college as an engineering student.’ I injected. You might just ask him that as you are walking out the door.’

‘You think?’

‘Yep,’ I said. ‘Works every time.’

Little Bird Fly

On a field in Warner Robins, Georgia this Sunday past a group of thirteen 12-year-old girls from Charlotte, North Carolina made a date with destiny. The newly crowned state champion, Rowan County All-Stars were 2 and 0 in the Little League Softball Southeast Regional tournament, set to play the returning championship team from Tennessee, also undefeated in the tournament so far.

Solid, back and forth play from both teams found the score tied, North Carolina at bat in the bottom of the sixth and possibly last, inning with two outs and a runner in scoring position. At bat was my grand-daughter, number 16. Lovingly referred to as ‘the softball warrior,’ she ate, slept and bled softball, playing basketball, volleyball or anything else at a high level to kill the time in between softball seasons.

Living as we did a laundry list of interstate highways apart I seemed to retain the images of our last meeting several years back even in the onslaught of hundreds of social media posts and regular barrages of school portraits and sporting events. She ever remained the small, slender waif with round, rosy cheeks and long, beautiful, brown hair, the apple of her papa’s eye. Watching her team progress through this tournament showed something new, something unexpected.

This wasn’t a child with a bat, a ball and a cherubic smile, but a practiced team player, snagging string-straight liners and making 6-3 putouts with ease. She took practice cuts with the bat as she settled into the batters’ box, ignoring everything around her except the pitcher, 43 feet away. If I was guessing, she never heard the contact but felt it as the ball sailed over the first baseman’s head, landing in fair territory several steps in front of the right fielder. The runner on third had scored well ahead of the fielder’s throw to home and she looked at the crowd gathering around the plate as they and the rest of her team began running towards her, not yet realizing that her hit had won the game.

I stared blankly at my TV as an epiphany began to wash over me. At that moment she would never again be thought of as a child. She had led her team that day, led by example, with singular purpose and fervent resolve. I would forevermore be the student, she was now the teacher. She had flown high up into the clouds and would never be satisfied with the ground again. I chuckle to myself when I think of her older brother’s one word summary of his little sister’s performance, ‘Clutch.’

Just Not Right

Just Not Right

I am used to getting up early but this was way too early and I was way too alert, something was telling me that things were just not right. Edging off of the bed and listening for any sounds that didn’t fit, the feeling was not going away and the voice in the back of my head was screaming, ‘Get smart, fast and don’t be a victim!’ Behind the partially open bedroom door was a bat, used to break up cat fights back when we had a cat, that would have to do.

As if any more adrenaline was needed, there was the sound of a footstep in the living room. One step through the bedroom door put me, unseen, in the back hall, a corner hiding me from whoever was in the living room but also cutting me off from my only means of escape, the front and back doors to the house. My advantage was that as the intruder came towards the bedroom door he would be silhouetted by the dim blue glow of the wifi router on the curio cabinet, at once highlighting his presence and killing off most of his night vision.

I waited in the darkness listening to his footsteps coming towards me and tried to concentrate on my breathing, I would have to be absolutely silent until the very last second. I saw a faint blue glow that put him astride of the router’s light and when his face began to pass in front of me I swung the bat with everything I had, hitting him on the bridge of the nose and then I slammed him into the wall next to the door frame and we both went down to the floor. I hit him with the bat again but the first shot had been plenty. While I was getting myself together I noticed that the dude had a gun. I wanted to go for the lights but I wanted to know if the guy had any friends first.

The scuffle hadn’t produced any kind of an audience so I guessed it was safe enough to make a little noise and found a roll of strapping tape in a drawer and proceeded to tie the guy up as well as I could until the tape ran out, that would hold for a while until I could get something more permanent worked out.

I went through the house and checked as many doors and windows as possible, everything was locked except the front door, nobody lurking about that I could see. There was a car that didn’t belong, a couple of houses down, next to the street light. I grabbed my laser pointer from the bedroom and an orange from the kitchen counter and me and the bat went for a stroll out the back door.

There were three houses between mine and the corner of the street where the street light was, the first two would give me all of the cover I needed to take care of the light so that I could get closer to that car. There was a trick that we used on the fourth of july to make the fireworks show more enjoyable from our front porch, aiming a laser pointer at the light sensor on top of the street light tricked it into thinking that it was daylight and shutting off, making the pretty lights easier to see, the orange makes the pointer easy to aim and holds it still as long as you want.

The driver was alone, engrossed in his phone as I walked up on his side of the car, the street light no longer able to alert him of my presence. The bat made easy work of him as well, I pushed him over, drove the car around the block and parked in the easement behind the house. Then it was time to call ‘the Yard Dog.’

What Do You Do For Sports?


I hate broadcast TV, 20 minutes worth of ads an hour, they never seem to care about the sports I am passionate about, just revenue. Then there is cable sports, cable was supposed to be the answer to broadcast TV because, no advertising. Well, that turned out well. I quit watching football, baseball, basketball, even bowling because of the ‘lets make this sport better for TV’ attitude.

12 years ago a partner and I were hired to video the local Junior A hockey team that was new to town. I was hooked. Let me tell you, there is no more exciting way for me to spend 3 hours than to watch people skate back and forth fighting over a rubber puck. Now I still get on the internet and watch snooker, UK Masters, World Championships, all of the opens, and all because of Ronnie O’Sullivan, I love the Rocket. I also enjoy the Spring Basho, and any tournament that is likely to crown a new Yokozuna, but my abiding love will always be hockey.

The owner of the team has decided to step away from the team and with him goes any hope of another season, that is not acceptable to me or any of the many other die-hard fans. I had to accept the fact that in order to feed my hockey jones I would have to subsist on substandard network feeds from the internet or the infrequent roadtrip to Dallas to watch the Stars from the nosebleeds.

I thought about this and decided that the alternatives were unacceptable. I had to do something. Crowdfunding. It was the single solution that would accomplish all of the goals that were needed. We would have the capital to show the league we were serious and could fund a team for the entire season. We could hire a coach in time to get the right players on the ice. We would be in control of the front office and able to correct the egregious wrongs that were done to season ticket holders in the past. But the most important goal of all, getting our players scouted by college teams. Over the years we have been able to get a large number of our players scholarships at Division I schools. Scholarships that changed their lives for the better in every way possible. This is the point. This is the purpose. The rest is just the mechanics of how to get them there. Altruistic, sure, I can accept that, but if that is what it takes then I will gladly take one for the team, our team.

How far would you go to save your local team?

Day 13- One Golden Answer

292.8

What if I told you that you could wring all of the fat from your body, maximize your endurance to marathoner proportions and increase your max squat to 1000#, all by doing this one weird thing? Yeah, right. That won’t happen. Not on this planet, not in this lifetime. Fatloss is dependent upon factors such as body type, macro intake, caloric balance, proper amino acid balance, hormones, anaerobic fitness, etc. A continuous, well thought out training regimen carried out over several years might bring you fairly close to your genetic endurance potential. Powerlifting greatness can be built-up over thousands of hours of training spaced out over hundreds of months. There is no easy fix, I know that I did not get this body in a few weeks, it will take at least as much time to fix as it took to break. And I am OK with that.

Body recomposition is not a pipe-dream but it has limits and constraints and most of those involve sticking to the program and following the rules. Carb cycling, paleo, zone, weight watchers, everyone has a new idea, a better idea. There are so many factors to be considered it is no wonder there is so much confusion over which diet is best. It seems that everyone wants you to be on their bus but noone wants to help you determine where you want the bus to go. Sadly we have to decide that for ourselves. What are our goals?

My goals are simple, I want to be able to play with my grandchildren, all six of them, anytime they want to. I don’t want to say, ‘I’m too tired’ or ‘I can’t do that any more.’ I run a mile every day so that I can run a mile if I want to. I lift weights so that if my grandson is going out for football I can hang with him in the gym and bench 200# when it’s my turn. I do pyo so that I can bend and jump and do whatever to keep up with these wonderful guys and girls. I cycle so that they can point to me and say “My papa can ride a hundred miles on a bike!”

My Food

4 eggs(320 cal.)P28F21.2C1.6
1 can tomatoes and chilies(50 cal.)P2.5F0C10
16 oz. 2% milk(260 cal.)P16F10C24
total=630 cal. P 46.5 F 32.2 C 35.6

lunch
pork tacos
total=1164 cal. P 98 F 46.4 C 73

popcorn
corn(260 cal.)P8F3C50
oil(120 cal.)P0F14C0
total=380 cal. P 8 F 17 C 50

dinner
tuna salad
4 oz. spinach(28 cal.)(P3.2F.4C4
2 cans tuna, drained(180 cal.)P40F2C0
total=208 cal. P 43.2 F 2.4 C 4
daily totals 2382 P 195.7 F 98 C 162.6

My Workout

1 mile run
100 single unders
back squats 5×5@165#

When you think about taking a few days off of a workout regimen, take a look at this study to see the effects of atrophy in only two weeks. The rehab conditioning they speak of is aerobic, no clue what the results would be if resistance training had been added to the rehab workload. As you can see, the difference between 2 or 3 days recovery time and two weeks without a workout is very small indeed.

Your workout
walk 1 mile
25 single unders
10 burpees

Day 12- Ritual Is Becoming Routine

294.8

Biotin, also known as Vitamin H, is a cofactor essential for the synthesis and oxydation of fatty acids in the human body. Storage of fat for energy and the breakdown of fat for use in the muscles depends on biotin.

Produced by bacteria in the intestinal tract, biotin is also found in foods, notably carrots, romaine lettuce, swiss chard and tomatoes. Almonds, bananas, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, egg yolk, milk, mushrooms, oat meal, onions, peanuts, raspberries, soy, and walnuts are also good sources.

Yesterday I didn’t eat nearly enough but I think I kept the majority of the protein to the early/middle part of the day and the carbs later, which should work well. By varying the food I eat all of the timeI am trying to make eating an adventure rather than a chore.

My Food

1 cup cottage cheese(240 cal.)P26F10C8

lunch
pork tacos (1264 cal.)P100.7F49.4C94

dinner salad
1 cucumber(32cal.)P1.6F.4C5.8
4 oz. spinach(28 cal.)P3.2F0C4
4 tbsp. thousand island dressing(180 cal.)P0F14C12
total=240 cal. P 4.8 F 14.4 C 21.8
1744 cal. P=131.5 F=73.8 C=125.8

My workout

1.2 mile run
100 single unders

your workout:
walk 1 mile
25 single unders
walking lunges 10 each side