Monday, July 31, 2006

A Tree Split Right Down The Middle

These pictures must be able to be used as a metaphor for something, I just can't figure out what... (click to enlarge).

There was a big storm a couple of weeks ago, and all around the neighborhood trees were literally torn apart. None of us could figure out whether it was lightning, mini tornadoes, or what could do so much damage, but it's hard to imagine anything but lightning splitting this particular tree right down the middle like this.

Short Slideshow of Seal Beach in La Jolla

Here's a few pictures I took after work was done out in San Diego, California!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Almost Home

I've been in San Diego since Wednesday, but I return home on the red-eye tonight, and my travel schedule for the rest of the year is thankfully a lot lighter. Unfortunately I picked the wrong day to read the USA Today left outside my hotel room door. There was an article in Thursday's issue called Fatigue In The Cockpit that examined the issue of pilots having difficulty staying alert during overnight flights. The author is a pilot, and he is advocating the airline industry allowing pilots to take naps during flights so that they are refreshed during landings, the most dangerous part of flying. I'll have to ask my pilot tonight if he or she is feeling okay before we take off...

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Things I Learned From Rolling Stone

Here are some more tidbits I picked up from the July 13 issue of Rolling Stone (with Johnny Depp on the cover):

A cool place to find new music and .mp3s: The Hype Machine (
Ever since I read about this site I've been addicted. It scours blogs for .mp3 postings and then has a little radio station thing that plays the songs most recently added. YOu can also listen to the most popular .mp3s for teh week, so do a search for an artist or song. An excellent tool to find new music!

A movie called Who Killed The Electric Car?. Remember that movie Tucker, about a guy who invented a car with all kinds of cool features but the Big Three automakers put him out of business? Seems history repeats itself. There's a documentary out that examines what happened to GM's EV-1, an electric car with no emissions and no gas or oil that was leased to Californians in 1996, "only to mash its fleet into scrap metal in the Arizona desert six years later." Check out the trailer at and check out the movie when it's released next month.

You can buy cover reprints of classic Rolling Stone magazine covers at for $25 each. I think I'm going to decorate my office with the August 1991 issue with Tom Petty.

You can watch the R-rated version of Buckcherry's video for Crazy Bitch at (Not Safe For Work!)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Learning To Fly

For my birthday, my wife arranged for me to take a flying lesson. I flew a Cessna from Air Harbor airport to Shiloh Airport and back again. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done. Here are some pics:

Cessna 8 Whiskey Mike. You might wonder why I agreed to go up in a plane with a guy named "Whiskey Mike," but I'm pretty sure that's just the way you say "W" over the radio for aviation purposes. I'm pretty sure.

The cockpit.

Scariest sight in the history of aviation: Mike V piloting an airplane.

View out the left wing

Coming in for a landing at Shiloh Airport

Just about to touchdown at Mike Piazza's runway?

A fuel stop. Gas was about $4.00 a gallon

Keep your eyes on the sky!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Did A Missle Down Flight 800?
Is The Government Concealing Evidence

Even before September 11th, 2001, for years I often had an eerie feeling everytime I saw a plane in the sky. That's because in 1996, a plane mysteriously exploded off the coast of Long Island. It was TWA Flight 800, headed for Paris, and for months, no explanation could be attributed to the explosion. Was it bomb, a missle, or some mechanical failure? Because of teh mystery, I sometimes would wonder if any particular plane I was looking at in the sky at any given time might suddenly and inexplicably explode.

But I remember most people initially thought it was a missle that downed Flight 800, especially when eyewitnesses reprted seeing something that resembled a missle hit the plane. These eyewitness reports were eventually squashed by the idea that it was actually an optical illusion these people were seeing. "Experts" said that the people actually saw the aftermath of the explosion, and fireballs shooting out of the plane somehow just looked like they were heading towards the plane for a reason I've never grasped.

The official conclusion by the NTSB was that the explosion was caused a by a spark in the fuel tank.

Now, ten years later, a group in Massachussets has filed a lawsuit to force federal officials to release information about a piece of debris from Flight 800 that it hopes will show that a missile downed the plane.

Tom Stalcup, who heads the East Falmouth, Mass.-based Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization, which filed the suit, said he is "very certain" that federal investigators found the piece of debris and are now concealing evidence of its existence.

Radar data show the piece of debris falling at high speed from the plane and a Navy salvage map shows it was later recovered, said Stalcup, 36, a physicist and owner of a West Falmouth, Mass., company that makes wireless weather stations. Despite this evidence, federal officials won't explain what happened to the debris once it was recovered from the ocean off Long Island, he said.

"All of the data requested is of great importance to the public understanding of the crash of TWA Flight 800," Stalcup's lawsuit says.

"One piece in particular landed closer to JFK Airport than any of the other thousands of recovered items ... after exiting the airframe at apparent supersonic speeds," the suit says.

We'll have to stay tuned to this one...

Things I Learned This Weekend From Rolling Stone Magazine
(Part One)

Because I spend a lot of time on airplanes, I read a lot of magazines. Lately I've tried to save some money by borrowing books from the library, but I owe them a few bucks for some overdues so I need to go in and settle up before I can borrow some more. In the meantime, I'v ebeen spending quality plane times with my magazines of choice, namely Esquire, Popular Science, Newsweek, and occassionally The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Spin, and GQ. It's funny that I read two mens fashion magazines even though I am far from a clothes horse. The articles and interviews just happen to be really good in those mags.

This past weekend we were on the beach, another great place to read a magazine, so on the way to the beach we stopped at a drugstore and picked up some. I grabbed the latest Rolling Stone and it was a great pick-up. It's sometimes hit-or-miss with Rolling Stone, but this issue happens to be great. It has Johnny Depp on the cover if you're looking for it. So anyway I was going to list all the interesting stuff I found in the magazine in this one posting, but I thought many of them deserved their own post so I'm going to spread them out over the course of the week.

For this post I'll write about who else but Tom Petty, who is featured all overthe magazine, including a full length interview by Neil Strauss. On a side note, a big deal is made of the fact that Tom says in teh interview that "This is the last interview I am doing for a long time." Well, apparently Neil got a little carried away, because Petty clarified on his website this week that by "a long time" he meant a few weeks, while he was touring but that he would definitely be doing some interviews later this month as his new solo album Highway Companion is released on July 25th. Misunderstanding aside, the interview did include quite a few gems:

-Tom does not care one bit about this whole Dani California/Mary Jane's Last Dance hoopla:
"I serously doubt there is any intent there. And a lot of rock & roll songs sound alike. Ask Chuck Berry. The Strokes took American Girl [for their song "Last Nite"], and I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it, That made me laugh out loud...I think there are enough frivilous lawsuits in this country without people fighting over pop songs."
-Tom's new solo album, Highway Companion, is his much more truly a solo album than Full Moon Fever or Wildflowers were. Tom actually plays drums and piano on this record, whereas his previous "solo" efforts were really more like Heartbreakers records sans Stan Lynch.

-In addition to the solo record, Tom has " a good sixty percent" of a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album "just sitting there waiting to be finished." It should come out next year and it "is going to be a big one." Tom's bandmate Mike Campbell is also producing a live Heartbreakers album.

-Tom also wants to get his original band "Mudcrutch" back together at some point for a project.

You can listen to the interview at

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dog Days Of Summer

Posting has been light lately because of various summertime activities that interfere with blogging. Here's a bonus shot of Mookie with her "cousin" Sodja to hold you over while I get my act together.

My Review: Superman Returns

I saw Superman Returns on opening weekend but took a while to write this review. I had had a lot of anticipation for this movie, which usually for me means I'll be disappointed. I was never a real huge comic book geek, but I did read quite a few Superman comics, and as a kid I loved the Superman movies.

Last year's Batman Begins was an excellent film, and I hoped to be as satisfied with this movie. Brandon Routh plays a good Superman, and he looks a bit like Christopher Reeve, so I can't complain about him. Kevin Spacey did a great job as Lex Luthor, but unfortunately Luthor's plot in this film is pretty damn lame. Surely in all the comics that have been written about Superman, a better scheme has been written that could have been lifted for this movie? But from a character standpoint, the major disappointment for me was that Kate Bosworth was a pretty lousy Lois lane. There was barely any palpable chemistry between her and Supes. Plus, her giant forehead was distracting.

Otherwise, this movie was waaay too long and had too many quiet, "dramatic," moments that were supposed to be awe-inspiring but were more like sleep inspiring. All in all, it could have been a lot worse of a movie, but it could have been a lot better too. Hopefully the next movie will have more action and less of the sleepy stuff. Honestly, the best part about going to see this movie was that the preview for Spiderman III looked REALLY good.

Now, some reviews of this film will tell you Superman Returns is a sequel to the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie, while others will tell you that it's a sequel to Superman II. Why is there confusion, even though Director Brian Singer has explicitly said in interviews that this is is a sequel to Superman II? My theory is that the confusion stems from the unstated fact that Superman Returns is truly a sequel to Superman II, but not the movie we all know. I believe Superman Returns is actually a sequel to the Superman II movie that was mostly filmed, but never finished, by the original director Richard Donner. The original idea for the Christopher Reeve film was a two part movie. Richard Donner filmed Superman and Superman II basically at the same time. But the studio got nervous about having the first film end in a cliffhanger and instead had Donner have more of a resolution for the first movie. Then, once the film was a success Donner continued to work on the sequel but got into some arguments with the studio and was then replaced by Richard Lester who, many movie fans feel, screwed everything up. When you watch Superman II, some scenes were shot and edited by Donner, and some by Lester. A lot of the original Donner material was cut altogether. For example, the Donner version of the film has an R-rated love scene between Supes and Lois Lane that never made it to the final version. Most people don't know this, but as a big Superman fan, Superman Returns director Brian Singer does. I think he had this unfinished movie in mind when he made this new movie. At some point this year a new DVD box set will come out that will supposedly include for the first time, the Richard Donner version of Superman II. I believe at that point my theory will be confirmed. You read it here first.

Oh yeah, my grade for Superman Returns is B-.