Monday, October 31, 2005


Tonight at midnight begins my epic journey into writerdom. Of course, at midnight tonight I'd better be in deep, deep sleep, or it'll be hard to complete my novel when I'm in the hospital after crashing my car on the way to work.

I have to work out a schedule for writing, and I'm trying to find a digital voice recorder to maximize the hours I spend in the car each day. I've been toying with the idea of buying one for months, but this might be the time to do it. I'm looking at the Olympus DM-20, with the option of using the DSS format with IBM's ViaVoice (which I already own). That would be pretty slick, if it worked well!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Simian the Whale

I was just listening to Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root, and remembered a story from high school. A friend of mine had created a mixed tape (remember those???) for her mom, and she included that song. Later she caught her singing along with it, using the post title in place of the actual words. To this day, I think of that story when I hear it.

Book 'em, Dan-O

I freely admit that in my youth and naivete, I have no idea where that line is from. Maybe Hawaii Five-O? The only thing I know about that show is the theme song by The Ventures.

The title stems from my near-constant thought process revolving around my NaNoWriMo endeavor. I have some ideas for plot, but when I was filling out my profile I got stuck on the frigging genre. I don't know where my plot ideas would fall, and I'm not even sure if the story in my head is going to be the same as the story I finish with. BUT... I'm not going to sweat it. I'm just going to select Other and be done with that. It's not like it's going to affect anything at this point.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Blog or Blawg?

How do you pronounce blog? Even though I know it's short for weblog, I tend to pronounce it with a short 'o' - like top, instead of like log.

Is that right? More importantly, does it matter?

Update - I looked it up on Webster, and I was surprised that they don't have it on their main site. They did, however, offer to let me sign up for a premium service, which puported to have it. Nice try.

New Purpose

I've decided not to design this blog around the idea of getting my pilot's license. It's more fun to be able to post on whatever I feel like. I'll still have aviation-based content, to be sure, but I want to be able to incorporate my other interests as well. Along those lines, I published a new description, which I think fits this blog pretty well.


As you may know, November is National Novel Writing Month. To celebrate, I've decided to sign up with NaNoWriMo to participate in what might be the craziest 30 days of my young life. I've started countless novels, usually around 1,000 words, only to discard them weeks or even days after starting. When I look back at the files I've got stored in my Literature folder, I'm sometimes baffled how I could think that crap was a good idea to start with. Sometimes, though, I find something and wonder why I stopped working on it.

Hopefully that is the kind of work I can produce in November. Either way, I'm excited to give it a shot, since this is the kind of project I need to pick myself up. I may have to get a digital voice recorder so I can work on my project for the 4 hours a day I commute...

Look for me at NaNoWriMo (that's pretty hard to type, actually) - my author name is kevboy.

Finding a Web Host

As I am newly immersing myself into the world of blogging and web design, I am trying to find the best deal for registering a domain and finding a host that will allow me to use ASP.NET and either MS Access or MS SQL as a back-end database.

I'm using this space as a means of storing the sites I find to visit later.
Host Excellence
IX Web Hosting

This is a site that review hosts: The Hosting Chart

Does anyone have any companies they'd like to suggest?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Nine Lives

Jane, over at Average Jane, is dealing with her elderly felines' health issues. It calls to mind my parents' cat, who lived a long and fruitful life. She was an outdoor cat (although she spent the winter curled up on a heating pad in my dad's garage), and was eighteen years old when she died. They didn't have to deal with many health issues, or dealing with the frustration of having her put to sleep, because I unfortunately backed over her in the driveway one night on my way home.

She was curled up under my car, which she frequently did, but as she was getting old, stiff and deaf, she either didn't realize I'd gotten in and started the car, or didn't have time to escape before I put in it reverse. Needless to say, I was upset about it, but my dad privately thanked me for doing it before my mom or sister did. I guess that was the silver lining in that situation.

Thinking of you tonight, Mama Kitty.

I'm not a blogger, I just post a lot

Not! I'm a bit disappointed in my own efforts at blogging. The truth is, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep up the idea of a journal of my efforts to attend flight school. It's just going to end up being a journal about my whole life, because flight school isn't in the near future, I'm afraid. The sad thing is, my life's not interesting enough to write a whole blog about. So maybe I need to revisit what the hell I'm doing here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lottery winnings

Between my office pool, and the tickets I bought with my in-laws, I won $1.38 in the Powerball drawing last night. I'm not sure why I even bothered to get up for work today....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sixteen tons, and what do you get?

I've determined that before I can invest a large chunk of change in flight school, I'm going to have to find some extra work to pay off existing debt. I've toyed with the idea of finding part-time work, but I know that I wouldn't make much doing that, and I'd prefer something I can do at home.

Now I'm toying with the idea of trying my hand at buying and selling items on eBay, or making and selling hand-turned pens (maybe even sell them on eBay). That might sound like a strange couple of options, but that's just what I'm starting with. I need to see what my most viable options are.

I'm going to hit the jackpot

I entered a pool with some of my co-workers in the $340 million Powerball jackpot. I know that we won't win, but it's still kind of fun to play when the prize gets that big. I find myself creating spreadsheets of how I would distribute the money, and I usually end up giving away almost half. I'm not sure what I'd do if I really won the money, because greed is an incredible beast. A small part of me hopes that I never have to deal with that, but it's pretty much overwhelmed by a desire to roll around in piles of greenbacks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Step 3 - Still Working...

I think it's funny that I've crammed the previous 3-4 years into 3 simple steps. My life has been decidedly more complicated than simply deciding to become a pilot, then getting a 'real job' and then starting this blog. I just didn't want to get wrapped up in the details in providing a background to my quest. I'll fill in any details as we go along, but for now you've got the idea.

I've been working for the same firm since I graduated. I've switched roles once, and while I'm fairly satisfied with what I do and who I work with, it's a long-term issue that I'm struggling with. That is, I can't see myself looking back on my career upon retirement and feeling a strong sense of pride in what I'd accomplished if I stay in this role. That, and I'm sick of driving 130 miles a day to get to and from work. I am waaaay to familiar with I-294 (or as we in Chicagoland lovingly call it, the TriState).

Every once in a while I get a strong desire to head off in a totally different direction in my career. This is one of those times. I simply decided a little while ago that I wasn't going to keep my goal of becoming a pilot on the shelf any longer than I absolutely have to. I keep coming back to it, so I'm going to actually DO something about it now.

Step 2 - Getting a Job

I started working full-time upon graduation in 2002, and had the idea that at some point I'd pursue flight school part time. I started doing research on flight schools in the Chicagoland area, and determined that my best bet would be with American Flyers, based out of Palwaukee.

I visited the facility there, and was very excited to start. Upon further investigation, however, it looked like I wouldn't be able to afford the loan payments on the load I'd have to take out in order to train with them. Also, they didn't seem to be set up to train career pilots. Their private program was okay, but when I started asking about multi-engine and CFI training it seemed like they were going to have to throw something together for me. Combined with the high cost of training, I decided to put my idea on hold for a while.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Step 1 - Deciding to Become a Pilot

I first thought about becoming a pilot in early 2001, when I was a junior at Knox College. Until that point, I considered myself pre-law, until I took a class in Constitutional Law, and realized I didn't want to spend the rest of my life being a lawyer. That left me with a mostly-completed bachelor of arts degree in Economics and International Relations; I wasn't interested in pursuing either field as a career.

I thought about all of the things I would be excited to do, and I kept coming back to being a pilot. I had always wanted to fly, and for Christmas one year my future wife bought me a 2 hour intro flight at Palwaukee aiport. Needless to say, this cemented the idea of being a pilot into my consciousness. I knew I wanted to do it, and I knew I would think of my job as fun.

Unfortunately, as I was to discover, flight school cost a whole lot. Waaaay more than I expected it to. I started looking into it, and decided that unless I wanted to become an airline pilot, I probably wasn't going to be able to afford to fly. So a few months after I got the bug, I logicked my way out of that career plan. But the bug didn't die...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Back on Track

I realized I wanted to create a blog about becoming a pilot, and then proceeded to start posting a bunch of non-pilot-related nonsense. Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm done with all of that. From now on, this is strictly a pilot-blog. Wait, don't leave... come back. I promise it won't be exclusively pilot-only. Only a partially pilot-only blog. I promise. I swear.

Pretty soon, I'm going to be flying one of these - the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

A Tribute

I think it's fitting that I give a shout out to the very first blog I ever read, the J-Walk Blog. I found his blog through The Spreadsheet Page, which I found in the first Excel programming book I ever bought, Excel VBA Programming for Dummies.

Yes, I realize that I said the first Excel programming book I ever bought, which must mean I have purchased more than one. This is true - I have two. But I digress. The reason for this post is to draw attention to the highly entertaining J-Walk Blog.

As I mentioned before, this was the first blog I ever read, and the first time I ever heard of a blog. Since that time, I've read his blog almost every day for the last three years, and not only do I feel like I know the guy, but I feel like I know some of the commenters that post on his site, too. Toad, wok, Rance, Jim Kloss... the list goes on and on. I don't post there very often, but I do spend a great deal of time every day browsing the new posts and the new comments. The style, tone, intelligence and content of this blog make it a refreshing oasis on the internet (and I should be careful here, because I'm now a part of that).

I highly recommend checking this blog out, as long as you won't get fired for spending hours reading it.

Blogger Spellcheck

I may be easily amused, but I thought I'd share this with the general population anyway. The spellcheck feature on Blogger didn't recognize 'blogging' or 'blog' in my first post. Um, in case you missed it, this is the spellcheck feature on Blogger. What's wrong with this picture? Hee hee! I just ran it again and it didn't even recognize 'Blogger' this time!

Welcome to the Stairway

Well, this is my first foray into the world of blogging. I've been reading them for years, but could never think of a reason to create one of my own. Then I decided I was going to change careers, and thought this would be a good place to document my experience. I'm pursuing a lifelong dream to become a professional pilot and enrolling in flight school... hence the snappy title of my blog. I hope to capture the essence of my experience on these pages, and along the way drop in some random posts when I find something worth sharing with the 2 people who will read this.