Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Alas my friends, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to spend among such excellent, such admirable hobbits. For which reason, I have decided to relocate to a short distance from here at A Hare on the Hillside. I have been neglecting the blogosphere in a cruel and inexcusable fashion, but I hope to remedy this tragic sin shortly. Should you feel inclined, I would love it you paid me a visit at my new location!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Flight-Gliding in the Land of Enchantment

Well loyal readers, it has been quite a long time since I last posted (for which I apologize), but I have been rather busy. I also apologize for the fact that this is not going to be the second part in the Good Movie series, but I think you will find this post far more interesting and enjoyable than it would have been.  

I write this post from the middle of nowhere in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico. I would tell you where we are, but it wouldn't mean much to you. The nearest town is a long ways away and several thousand feet below us. On to the main point of the post!

This morning we drove to an old abandoned airfield in Hobbs, NM that used to be the training site for B-17 bombers during the Second World War. At the time, it was the largest airfield in the USA and its runway still ranks among the longest in the country. The glider was a Schweitzer 233 made by a German American company in New York back in the 1960s. The particular glider we flew was made in ’65. The hangar was built on the concrete surface used to calibrate the compasses on the bombers during the war. It was very neat to be flying on the airfield used during the war. 

Anyway, first-off we did a formal check of the plane (There’s not much to check on this type of glider so we basically made sure the wings were attached) and then pulled the glider out of the hangar and out across what used to be the ramp for the B-17s. Here is a picture of the airfield during 1943 and you can actually see the bombers lined up on the ramp. (Despite the word, it is not inclined at all, it is just the place where the bombers were pulled out and inspected before flight.) You can also see the barracks that housed the cadets, technicians and trainers. 

To make a long story short, we pulled the glider out to the end of the runway behind a pick-up and took a few pictures while the pickup went down the runway about half a mile. I got strapped into the glider and we did a check for full movement of the controls and radio signal. The pilot, my step-grandfather, was in the back and I was in the front. 

To take-off, the pickup would go to the end of the 1/2 mile wire, attach it to the hitch and then radio back, "Tow truck ready to take up slack." If we were strapped in and the canopy was secured, we would then reply, "Glider ready to take up slack." The tow crew would then say, "Taking up slack." Once the slack was out, we would radio, "Slack out. Pause." This told the tow crew to wait as we radioed Hobbs Regional Airfield and warned them that a glider was being launched. Then we would say "Let's go" to the tow crew and we'd be off. The pickup would begin to cruise along at around 15 mph picking up pace very quickly to about 55 mph, at which point the glider picks up off the ground, takes a steep 45 degree angle into the air for about twenty seconds, levels out and then releases the cable from the front of the plane so that it is free of the truck. The wire, which is about a half mile long and has a piece of chain on one end, is slowed down in it's descent by a parachute which the tow crew picks up. I don't have pictures of that, but here's take-off.  

As you can see, the airfield is grown up but it still works for gliding. You can just barely distinguish the plane in the picture above, but it is the horizontal white strip in the center between all the clouds. It is nearly at 'top of the flight' which is when we release the cable. Normally, the glider would be towed up by a powered plane, but there was no such convenience that day. :)

For my first two flights, we just flew around the airfield in a circuit and then landed again just so I could get accustomed to the feeling. I flew for a majority of the time and that was fairly simple. There are three main controls: the stick you steer with, the rudder pedals, and the air brakes. The rudder pedals were handled by the pilot and the brakes aren't necessary until landing so I didn't use those. Most of the flying is done with the stick. My step-grandfather did the take-off and landing but I flew the rest. I banked over a bit too much one time and scared the pilot, but we straightened out again so other than that I did fine. :D

After those flights, my brother went up and we ate some lunch as we waited for the clouds to build. Clouds are an indication of a thermal wind current which is what the glider uses to climb since it has no engine. Without a thermal, flights are restricted to about ten minutes because they don't have enough air speed from the tow to stay in the air for very long. Flights can be up to around 7 hours however with a good thermal. They are hard to find and fairly hard to stay in but once you do, it is quite nice.

I went up a third time looking for a thermal but we had to come back down and try again. On this fourth time, we found one and began circling around inside the thermal until we were up to about 7,000 feet above the airfield. (10,700) feet above sea level. This took about twenty minutes because we had to battle the wind currents and find the right one to take us up. I flew several of these turns myself, which was a little bit scary but surprisingly simple. I started getting a little bit sick up towards 8,000 feet so we started down. In order to descend fast enough, my step-grandfather opened the air brakes, which forces us down against the wind current. Generally we would go down much slower. The fast descent increased the pressure I was half-deaf upon landing, but it went away after a little while. 

Well this post is getting a bit long. I haven't had time to explain everything and I don't want to bore you, but I might be able to answer some questions you may have. I have been considering an aviation career for some time now so today was a great chance to get a bit of experience. I have a powered flight scheduled for later on this week so may make a post on how that goes as well. So long!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guess what this is?

You're right, it's another tag. This is the last one though, I promise. This one is from my friend Josh.

1. Do you play an instrument, and if so who was your biggest influence on the decision to play that instrument?

A. Yes, I play guitar. Acoustic and electric. I know a tiny bit of Steel too, and three Ukulele chords. :D I play some piano too. My biggest influence on playing guitar was probably my dad and my sister, because I grew up watching them play. I am pretty much self-taught though.

2. What is your favorite quote from a real person?

A. These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of his country, but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.  Thomas Paine (18th century activist and revolutionary.)

3. What is your favorite hobby?

A. Writing my book(s).

4. What is your number one goal in life?

A. When you talk about a number one goal for a Christian, everything gets thrown out for me except one thing, and that is to come to have an intimate relationship with God that is strong enough to stand through whatever trials life throws at me. I would like to get married and have children, but I do not know yet if that will happen (I'm only 16, so that's okay, right? No, I don't have anyone picked out.:D) and if it does, I believe it will be just part of the means that God uses to attain His ultimate end, plan, which is sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

5. What is your favorite pass time?


6. If you had to, would you eat road kill?

A. Sure would. If I was absolutely starving then I wouldn't care or not if it was that fresh, but I think I would exercise some precaution. i.e. if it was entirely rotten and swarming with maggots, then I think I’d find something else. But other than that, yes, I would.

9. Do you dance? (meaning Swing, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, etc.)  If you do which is your favorite and why?

A. Of course I dance. I'm not that great at it, but I do dance. It's really hard to choose a favorite dance, because it generally depends on who I'm dancing with. Certain dances I prefer to dance with certain people. If it was a total stranger though, then I probably wouldn't care that much. I'm just glad that I'm dancing! But if that's not satisfactory, then the Swing or Tango would be my favorite.

10. Do you prefer handmade gifts or gifts bought from a store?

A. Handmade, definitely. When people make something for me it has a lot more meaning to it because they actually invested time and energy into that gift for me and it proves that they care enough to take that time. Not that I don't like store-bought gifts, it's just that handmade gifts mean more to me. Especially if they're sharp or made out of paracord. :D

Well friends, please don't tag me again for at least two months! I didn't mind doing this one at all, in fact I wanted to, but I think I'm done for a little while! Pictures of SeaWorld in San Antonio coming up next!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Favorite Quotes-Part 1

Well hello readers all! Some of you may know that on my sidebar is a scrolling collection of some quotes I put together, but as the list is far from complete I have decided to post a few more of my favorite quotes I have been putting together lately in my Commonplace Book, a quote book basically. So here they are, along with their author and location.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. 
                                                   Thomas Paine (The American Crises Papers)

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade,all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to thing of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.
                                                                        -C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity

He that cometh to seek after knowledge, with a mind to scorn, shall be sure to find matter for his humor, but no matter for his instruction. Advancement of Learning, Book I(1605)   -Francis Bacon

“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinion which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”                                -Thomas Jefferson

All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in this world is for enough good men to do nothing.                                                     - (Edmund Burke)

“I am much afraid that schools will prove to be great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.”                               
                                                                           -Martin Luther

 If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.                            -           
                                                             -C.S Lewis (Mere Christianity)

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it. F. B

Laws are made to guard the rights of the people, not to feed the lawyers. The laws should be read by all, known to all. Put them into shape, inform them with philosophy, reduce them in bulk, give them into every man's hand.                                           -Francis Bacon

Number itself importeth not much in armies, where the people are of weak courage; for (as Virgil says) it never troubles a wolf how many the sheep be.   -Francis Bacon

It may not always happen that our soldiers are citizens, and the multitude a body of reasonable men; virtue, as I have already remarked, it not hereditary, neither is it perpetual. Should an independency be brought about by the first of those means, we have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest, purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a few months. The Reflexion is awful—and in this point of view, how trifling, how ridiculous, do the little paltry cavellings, of a few weak or interested men appear, when weighed against the business of a world.
                                          -Thomas Paine (The American Crises Papers)

I said just now that the question of Faith in this sense arises after a man has tried his level best to practice the Christian virtues and found that he fails, and seen that even if he could he would only be giving back to God was already God’s own…Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your action, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.   -C.S Lewis (Mere Christianity)                                                                              

The answer to that nonsense is that, if what you call your faith in Christ does not involve taking the slightest notice of what He says, then it is not Faith at all—not faith or trust in Him, but only intellectual acceptance of some theory about Him.          
                                                               -C.S Lewis  (Mere Christianity)

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,
                                        -- 2 Timothy 4:7 (The Bible)

Thank-you for reading! If you would like to share your favorite quote or quotes, please comment below!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sunshine Award Tag...Again.

Well friends and arch enemies, I have been tagged again by my good friend Rachael. I will keep my post brief however, and hopefully refrain from boring you with miscellaneous information about diverse and varied subjects concerning myself.

Here are the questions that were given me and my answers to them.

1. Favorite vacation?

A. Well, if you don't call camping trips vacations, then I would probably say the trip I took last year to Washington D.C. There was also a very memorable vacation in Turkey one year when I was about seven when we went to Fetiye, in southern Turkey that classifies as a real vacation.

2. Favorite ethnic food?

A. Vietnamese

3. What book are you currently reading?

A. Book or books? :) I am currently reading Moby Dick, (boring) Jane Eyre (okay) and He Is There and He is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer (good)

4. Favorite movie or movie(s?)

A. LotR counts as one. Then there's the Bourne Trilogy, Son of God and We Were Soldiers.

5. What do you do in your spare time?

Play guitar, read books, listen to LOTS of music amongst various other classified activities.

6. What kind of music speaks to you personally?
A. It all depends on what mood I'm in, really. I will say that metal, reggae, rap and hard rock do NOT speak to me in the slightest. I like Josh Groban, Phil Wickham and soundtracks though. Occasionally a good classic rock song will speak to me as well though.  
7. Have you ever acted in a movie?
A. If home movies count, then yes, I have acted in at least five or six.
8. How many different genres of music do you have on Spotify and/or Grooveshark?
A. I have 12 different genres on Spotify but I tend not to group my music in playlists by genre, so I have more playlists than that. I have 9 different genres on Grooveshark.  
9. Do you have a job? If so, what is it or, if not, what would you like your job to be?
A. No, I do not. That is not to say that I do not work however. I would like to be a Search and Rescue pilot, but as that involves joining the Coast Guard and/or military forces, I would be okay with being a flight paramedic, or a pilot in some sort of helicopter service. (Ambulance, private, S&R, or other)
10. Favorite hiking experience?
A. Oh goodness, I've been on a lot. Probably the one that was supposed to be a 1.5 mile hike and turned out to be a six mile hike down in Oklahoma. That's not the reason I liked it though, I liked it because we ran all the down hill parts as fast as we could. (with various implements: knives, tomahawks etc.) in our hands) Then of course, we had to wait for the adults at the bottom of each hill, but it was a lot of fun. We raced the last half mile in a full our downhill run and THAT was a lot of fun!
11. Have you lived in any other states? If you have, where?
A. I have lived in other countries, but not other states.
12. Plans for your future?
I do not have any definite plans for my future. At some point I would like to get my pilot's license, paramedics training and have a family, but I have found that leaving that sort of thing up to God is far better than worrying and obsessing over it while a teenager.
13. Do you prefer strumming or picking on the guitar?
A. Picking, slapping and thumping. I'm a finger-style guitarist in training.
14.Something your parents have done that you wished you could have been alive to do with them?
A. Can't think of anything, but I do wish I could have gone to Rome with them when they went eight years or so ago.
Thank-you Rachael, for the tag. I hope my readers enjoyed it. I think I am going to refrain from tagging anyone else though, seeing as everybody has already been tagged at least once. If you would like to answer the questions above though, then feel free!