Archive for December, 2009

Twas the Night before Healthcare

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Twas the day before Healthcare and all through the land,
The socialists was trying to stick it to da’ man.
The bribes were all counted and written with care,
For the senators holding out for their share.

The citizens were oblivious out spending some cash,
Not understanding the scheme to take their stash.
Bundled with coats, jackets and sweaters of wool,
Some thought the earth was too warm and not cool.

When inside their mailboxes there came such a stuffing,
When the taxes were paid, they were left with nothing.
Don’t worry they were told by their neighborhood mommas,
When your money’s gone you can have some of obama’s.

But don’t blame that kenyan for what he has done,
He couldn’t have made it without help from quite a sum.
Now Nancy! now, Harry! now, Franken and others of scorn,
and don’t forget the myriad of votes from Acorn.

It’s a mess that is waiting to be cleaned up soon,
When this season is over I may have to swoon.
No more apologies for things I haven’t done,
The clean-up’ll be harsh and with flashes of fun.

In years to come later, our children might say,
How could you have been so stupid back in the day?
We’ll smile and remember the day we cleaned-up,
And bust their chops and scream, “You can shut-up.”

We’ll CHANGE to a culture that doesn’t give passes,
without merit to thugs, thieves, and dumb-lasses.
We’ll have HOPE in our freedom above everything else,
Because our primary provider is really ourself.

If Reed can break ranks…

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

then so can I…Merry Christmas everyone!

Reed:  Glad to hear things are going well with GH training.  Yea I remember Lokoweed too, a bit too cocky in my books!  And thanks for the words about how we learned, trained and fought…as for your telescope; if you have haven’t gotten it patented, licensed, or whatever the legal term is, you better.  I’d hate to see all the work you and Chris did get stolen or “pirated” without any proper recognition or royalties.   Be careful…

As for the Blooms; Heather made another film over in Monroe, “Flag of my Father” or “Flag of Our Father” or something like that.  It’s not a follow on to Clint Eastwood’s “Flag of our Fathers” which was about the flag rising on Iwo Jima during WWII.  This one is about a Vietnam Vet and his kids when they’re all grown up.  Anyway, Heather plays the wife of John Schneider (one of the sons) and William Devane, from “Knot’s Landing”, is the dad.  Yes, I did say John Schneider who played Bo Duke from the “Dukes of Hazzards” TV show.   Yep, she had a blast filming on this set too…

As you saw, I did make the Fine Scale Model publication’s on-line Reader’s Gallery with my Tet Offensive diorama.  Although it took a long time to build, I had fun with it.  I finished the M1A1 with markings from the 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) while serving in Iraq in April 2003.  Wow that was a mouthful and I thought the Air Force was bad on listing units!  The Army takes the cake and then some!  Anyway, I added the Bedouin and camel for a bit of color.  I have the gunner trained on him with the 7.62 mm M240 machine gun just in case he decides to take a pot shot at the crew.  I didn’t realized it until I photographed it, but the camel has a mean look to its face.  As for the German 88, it’s on still on hold.  The half-track came in but I’m dreading the build…over 800 parts!!!!

M1A1HA #1  M1A1HA #2  M1A1HA #4 

   M1A1HA #1        M1A1HA #5

Been duck hunting with Jim Melvin and his son, bagged a few ducks and got poison ivy which I’m still battling since 14 November!  We’re planning on taking a trip down to Corpus Christi for another duck hunt there next month.

O’well…until next time…

Merry Christmas!

Andy

Amazon Announces ABNA 2010…

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

It’s time for that powerful contest.   

 The third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition seeking the next popular novel.

For the first time, the competition will award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. The 2010 competition will also now be open to novels that have previously been self-published. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.

more information available at:

http://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-Novel-Award-Books/b?ie=UTF8&node=332264011

I’ve placed in the first two contests … I’m tempted to enter again this year, but I’m not sure. 

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

All,

A very merry Christmas!

Well it’s time to update you all on activities in the Estrada household.  I have been away from home over the last month or so for my initial qual training for the RQ-4 Global Hawk.  I was up at Beale AFB for the training and staying south of base in a suburb of Sacramento called Roseville.  The training at Beale AFB and the accommodations in Roseville were all beyond excellent.  The GH squadron is in the same building as the 9th Recon U-2 squadron.  The attached 1st SQ is the FTU for GH so I reported every day to work at the 1st.  I had to walk through the 9th SQ spaces everyday so I saw a few folks I recognized from prior days.  I ran into Luke Lockawich the first week.  That was uncomfortable as he and I were crewed together at the 20th BS after I got back into the Buff in 2000.  He is typical of allot of the younger kids that were in the Buff community about this time and was pretty impressed with himself and completely unimpressed with the old man (me) who was assigned as his AC.  We clashed on quite a few ideas on how to do all things in the Buff.  However instead of talking them out and sharing some ideas, and maybe learning something from someone who had done way more in the Buff then he would every dream about, he chose to beat a path to the squadron commander’s office on the sly and stab me as many ways possible.  Of course it didn’t help to have “woodcock” as the SQ CC.  Either way “Loco” succeeded in getting me booted from the crew over on Diego.  So we ran into each other in the Sq halls and he was at least civil.   I suppose living well is the best revenge cause I’m loving life in my current job and making twice what “Locoweed” is making and hang’in around with a bunch of superior aviators who value my experience and flying style.  As for the other folks in my group (superior aviators),  most of them are fighter pilot types with a variety of military experience.  Two are former F-117 pilots two navy pilots, one F-18 an A-6 time the other P-3 time. One AF F-4 pilot and one marine Harrier pilot.  The program manager is a former F-4 nav and our pilot manager is a former Navy F-4 driver.  Of course our big boss (Northrop Test Pilot Manager ) is Troy Johnson, a former B-52 and B-2 pilot.  How’s that for cool!  We are still hiring folks (4 more slots).  Everyone is motivated and we are gelling pretty well as a team.  Northrop is a great working environment and everyone enjoys the work.  Even though we are attached to the 452nd flight test squadron and work with AF rules and regs (sorry AFI’s) and are under supervision of the AF squadron commander,  The Northrop side is way layed  back and a big boy attitude.  We are pretty much left alone to make our own decisions and work at our own pace.  The attitude is “find a way to make it work”.  The program is pretty new so allot of the stuff is being developed as we do it.   So far I’m through with the academics and have accomplished 5 sims.  It’s kinda strange that the sims are just about as real as it will get.  My recent B-52 experience flying with laptops with falcon view has helped immensely.  The flight displays use Falcon View as the backbone and many of the commands and functions are the same.  

Now for the other part of my life.  As you all remember my son and I got interested in astronomy back at Castle AFB.  We purchased a ten inch telescope in Merced and have traveled all over the country with it.  Just about everywhere we have lived we made it a point to get involved with the local astronomy community.  California is no different , we joined a local group called the Central Coast Astronomical Society.  The group has many professional and armature astronomers.  Because it’s California, and folks do everything here is a big way, we soon found our ten inch scope was not big enough to meet our needs or desires.  So we spent some time and allot of money and recently built a large alt azimuth telescope.  We must have done something right with the design and construction because when we debuted the scope at one of our monthly meetings we generated allot o buzz in the local astronomy community.  So much so that a PHD type from CAL POLY in San Lous Obispo came by one evening and looked over the telescope very carefully and asked a lot of questions.  Well one thing led to another and now we are “head over heels” involved with helping to build a very large research telescope for a group called the “Alt Azimuth Initiative.”  Turns out that the PHD type, a Dr. Russell Genet, is the brain child behind the group with the intent of revolutionizing the astronomy world by building inexpensive portable research grade telescopes for universities and colleges around the world.  It appears that time is right for the fusion of new computer based technology and CCD cameras with the low cost of home built telescopes like we made.  We are about a third of the way towards completion of this telescope.  It has a one meter diameter mirror and will eventually be used for binary star and proto planet data collection.  My son and I are providing the majority of the labor involved.  We are supported by a worldwide group of armature telescope builders and professional engineers and astronomers.  We are working with the engineering department at CAL POLY and with several corporations who would like to produce the later versions after we work out the design details.   My son Chris has already gone a step further and is working with Dr. Genet on some binary star data and research and hopes to publish a scientific paper on their results this year.  This is great news as he is applying to universities this year to finish his degree in bio chemistry.  All the PHD types we have met so far, say that having a published paper is “HUGE” for college boards!  Just last week we received an invitation from the director of the Mount Wilson observatory to bring both telescopes to the observatory north of Los Angeles for a week of observing and data collection.  He also offered us some time on the historic 1.5 meter Hale telescope.  Knock on wood, life is good!!    

Well I’ve used too much space boring you with my life.  I hope all of you are well and have a Very Merry Christmas!!

 

Cheers

 

Ponch