Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Musings

Recently saw the movie 50/50.  When I first heard about it, I wasn't going to watch it as I am not a huge fan of Seth Rogen.  While on vacation, I saw an interview with him about the movie and it prompted me to re-consider.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is perfect for the role.  The film is inspired by true events.  

Also just finished the book:  Marriage Confidential:  The post-romantic age of work-horse wives, royal children, undersexed spouses, & rebel couples who are rewriting the rules, by Pamala Haag.  She writes about the large numbers of "semi-happy, low stress, low conflict" marriages where the passion is gone but the costs of divorce is sometimes too high to contemplate especially when there are children involved.

I found the book disturbing and not at all humorous like some reviews describe.  Read the intro and decide for yourself.  Am wondering if I need to be worried about the marriage of the person who recommended this book to me.  Not sure if they were hoping to start a dialogue about it.  Marriages can be a touchy subject especially when you have known both parties for a long time.

Took another intro flight.  D felt I ought to give fixed wing flying another go but on a different type of plane (his attempt to prevent me from doing something rash, like sell the cottage and make him go back to driving a Toyota Tercel in order to fund my helicopter habit).  So he took me to the school he went to 10 yr ago for his intro flight as we were going to be in the area.  It was fun.  I had a young female flight instructor and she was enthusiastic.  Had I had this flight as my first, I would have gone ahead with training for sure. 

We did a lot.  I got to handle the aircraft for most of the time and even got to taxi back.  Getting a feel for the pedals was neat.  There is enough of a lag where I had to compensate for over steering so the plane weaved side to side like a drunk person walking while I was figuring it out.  I told her air traffic control is going to wonder what the heck is going on. 

In all my 3 flights, I have not been able to locate where the airport was.  Not a good thing for someone considering being a pilot.  Today I thought I saw a plane parked in what I thought was the airport. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a Home Depot...My instructor howled "awesome" when I admitted my mistake.  I just had an eye exam not long ago and I'm supposed to have 20/20 vision.  Not so sure anymore.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strange Love

There are days when I wonder if there is something wrong with me.  Why am I not able to stick with a few interests for a long time?  Why do I have a need to try new things?  Why do I end up liking things that cost a crap load of money to participate?  Why can't I enjoy something like planting flowers or vegetables instead?

It may sound like I go out of my way to search things out.  And on some level I do.  I have an inherent amount of curiosity guiding me through life.  What I do not control is my reaction to said activity or event.  Who would have thought I would love being in a helicopter but not a Cessna?  That I would be almost repulsed with driving stick even though I can do it, effectively ending any hope of rallying. 

I didn't know flying a helicopter would cost so much money.  That piece of knowledge didn't exist in my data bank.  I found that out after I was hooked.  My intro flight where I clocked 30 min of flight time, cost $452.  A full length lesson would cost $537.75/hr in a R22 and $819.25/hr in a R44 (what I was in).  You need minimum 45 hr and closer to 60 to get your licence.  Oh yeah, and your helmet is going to cost $2200.

Approximate total price for a private helicopter licence will run in the minimum $35000 range (R22 -- which isn't recommended.  R44 is the way to go, so think 50K+) with a recommended 2 hrs a week in lessons = high cash output.  And the crazy thing?  You can't really rent one afterwards.  It's not like fixed wing planes.  Most people who go the non commercial route are thinking of buying one at a cost of 150K for a R22 and 500K for a R44.  I can see myself visiting my little helicopter on the weekends...

Unlike Cessnas where you can pretty much fly them "forever" with reasonable maintenance, helicopters have to be completely rebuilt after 12 yrs or 2200 hrs.  And it will cost around 89K to rebuild a R44.  How's that for a practical hobby?  Yup, I sure know how to pick them.  Unfortunately it doesn't change how I feel about them.  Consider yourself warned.

***Update: Here is a link to an interesting aviation internship for those living near Boston.***

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Movie Fun

One part of travelling a longer distance I enjoy are the in flight movies. Some airlines have better selection than others and Delta ranks right up there.

Since my 2 experiences being seated at seats where the in flight entertainment systems were bust, I now have developed a bit of anxiety with it. Ten hours+ is a long time to be strapped down without a movie, even for someone who can meditate for hours and owns a tablet and an iPod. Lucky for me, I had no issues this time.

On the way to Honolulu, I really enjoyed "Colombiana" and "Buck". "Killer Elite" was OK. Jason Statham made the movie much more enjoyable. Learned a lot from a documentary called "The Botany of Desire" based on Michael Pollan's book.

On the returned leg, I saw "Man on Fire" and "Love & Other Drugs". Both I would recommend.

We are looking forward to the summer blockbuster season.... No judging here please..."The Amazing Spiderman" (I think Andrew Garfield will be great in this role), "The Dark Knight Rises" (what can I say other than Christian Bale), "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" to name one other. "Avengers" will kick things off next week. I want to see "Thor" (OK, Chris Hemsworth's arms...) again before next Friday.

D and I finally went to see "The Hunger Games". I blew through the books prior. The 3rd one dragged a bit for me. But it could be I read them all in a day and I was getting tired. We both enjoyed the movie much more than expected. I look forward to the next one. Not sure if I would recommend it for younger kids.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Peak Experiences

This week has been so high on the "Fun Meter", we could barely contain ourselves. Guess who took an intro helicopter flight? Yes I did! And it confirmed for me it really was the helicopter I was interested in, not just the beautiful scenery of Kauai.

I wish I could show you my flight DVD from Hawaii. Am not usually one for souvenirs but I wanted a record of the flight and commentary. Plus I wanted D to see the smile on my face on take off. There is an interior camera in the helicopter that records the passengers during certain times and because I got to sit in the front beside the pilot (you don't get to choose, you get placed depending upon weight), I am right there in the middle of the screen.

My intro flight came together last minute as I was visiting a friend for the day who I hadn't seen for almost 2 years. We live far enough apart it takes some serious planning and a day off just to meet in Toronto. When we got talking about the "what's next" in our lives, I told her how much I enjoyed my helicopter tour and how taking the flight seemed to renew my interest in flight school again.

She knew I had taken an intro flight lesson in a Cessna a few years back and wasn't inspired. Then she told me we weren't far from a school. So of course I perked right up and we went online to see about availability for an intro flight. Man did I get lucky.

The instructor told me if I could get there within 1/2 hr, there was time. We shot off like a bullet. I took my intro flight in a R44 (you could choose a R22 as well) and I'm sure I did not stop smiling until I had a chance to try my hand at hovering. Wow,was that hard. I was all over the place even though I didn't think I was moving the control much. It requires some serious touch.

The "bad" part? The $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ it costs to attain a private helicopter license. When D told a friend of his what I had been up to, his words were "I don't think she could have found a more expensive hobby.". A subject for another post.

I've decided to lump all the posts from the beginning to my last one as one batch. My early years where I wrote a lot about saving money, debt repayment and work woes. I cannot say it was an overly happy period of time outside of some great trips.

That phase did see me transition to my current semi retired/part time work status. It may also be my "retired" status if I choose to do some work indefinitely. I will continue to update my NWIQ numbers as I still find it useful.

From this post on, Version 2.0 will be about living the best life we can, now that I've regained more of my time and creativity back, whatever it ends up being and wherever it may lead us.

Thank you again for your patience while I sorted out the role this blog was going to play in my life.

Monday, April 16, 2012

So Hard

I've underestimated things yet again.

Thank you for all the comments, emails, well wishes, suggestions and requests since my last post. Even D reacted strongly when he heard of the news -- Something I was not expecting. I guess he saw what I couldn't.

When I wrote the series for Women's Money Week, it showed me how done I was with writing about work, money and debt. The reason why I started a blog. I no longer feel the need for that platform anymore.

Since I was 7, I've kept a written journal and once the books were full, they were discarded. I didn't want to risk someone finding and reading them. My pattern made it simple to do the same with this blog. Even though I've remained anonymous, I still feel oddly vulnerable.

What I didn't realize was the effect of All of You, my Readers and Commenters have had on Me. That I was also erasing and discarding Our History. And I found I was not able to do it yesterday. Getting rid of my written blabber? Easy. Getting rid of your emails, comments and valued feedback? Too difficult.

I am going to consider the idea of morphing this blog into a lifestyle and travel one. No promises as to when but I'm not erasing what I have here. You have made a lasting impression on me. Thank you in advance for your patience.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Good Bye

I've decided to close down this blog.  The past 3+ years have been great and I want to thank everyone for reading and contributing and being there when I was going through some difficulties. 

I need to harness back some mental time for other ventures as well as reduce my computer use even more.  This blog has served its purpose and I'm excited for whats ahead.

My blog reading shall continue and I look forward to keeping up with what's on the minds of Bloggers I enjoy. 

All the best to Everyone and Thanks again for the good times.  It has been a satisfyingly creative process.

Hawaii Summary

My trip to Hawaii was a lot of fun.  I got a good overview of the islands and my favourites were Kauai and Maui.  Kauai for the landscape, where the helicopter photos from yesterday came from, and Maui for the vibe.  It felt young and laid back to me. 

The weather was pretty great.  The winds made such a difference to the temperature.  It was strange for me to see a 31 degree Celsius forecast and it feeling pleasant.  Doesn't exist in my neck of the woods.  But when there is no wind, you baked, which is what I'm used to.

Kona coffee is really good.  I now understand what the hype is about.  Thought Kalua pork was OK.  I think I'm just used to a stronger more bbq pull pork taste whereas Kalua pork tastes more natural.

I managed to take 6 hours of Hula and Tahitian dance lessons which was highly enjoyable and learned more about Hawaiian culture than I ever did reading a book.  Hula is not about girls with coconuts and grass skirts.  It is about telling a story with your hands while your hips are mimicking the waves of the ocean. 

No go with learning to surf.  My schedule didn't allow it.

On the way home I had layover time in San Diego so I got to explore a bit.  It was really easy to get downtown from the airport.  Cannot say I enjoyed my time there.  There was a large police presence that day due to the season opener of the Padres.  I was actually warned to watch my back. 

A highlight was Anthony's seafood restaurant by the pier.  Ate the best fried shrimp of my life.  It was so perfectly done, the middle was almost like Sashimi.  Could of easily ate my weight in it.

Forget Cessnas, I want to be a helicopter pilot...