Thought you had some amazing goals for 2012? Think again. Next year, James Ketchell will set out to do what no one has done; row across the Atlantic, climb Mt. Everest then cycle around the world. He's already done the first two tasks although in different years and while completing all these feats in a year is timely possible, I'm excited to track his progress. Check out his awesome video, following him on twitter, @CaptainKetch and track his story via his website, jamesketchell.net.
Heading down to Kurt's house early morning, I left the crashpad in Buckhead and began my 50 minute drive south on 85 to Grantville. Picking up some breakfast bagels at Panera along with some Honey Walnut Cream Cheese hit the spot before we got underneath the car. An enthusiast on the popular bimmerforums website by the name of MLue1 wrote a great step by step procedure which helped in the process of changing the part out. Some said that the swap took only 20-30 minutes, and I was proud that we finished in under an hour. The actual exchange of the part was 10 minutes but the lifting of the car, removal of the wheels...just overall setup was what took the longest. Taking a look at the picture, the new one is on the left compressed and if you look closely at the "bag" on the right side, you'll see the age; the car was manufactured in 01/99. You do the math. Can you believe that a local shop here in Atlanta wanted to charge over $600 in labor? I bought the Left (part number 37121095081) and Right (part number 37121095082) Sport Air Springs using realoem.com to find the part number and eeuroparts where I was able to place a phone order in two minutes! The price was okay at $180 a side but from what I've heard, some BMW Dealerships will actually give you a better price. Next time, I'll be sure to double check. There's always the shocks next!
Hanging out for a few minutes, we decided to go on that run...
Running in Grantville (in southern Atlanta) proved to be just a little too hot for me. After working on the wagon with Kurt, yes, more or less he did most of the "dirty" work but I did about 40% or so, I decided that I wanted to see what hills he kept on talking about around his neighborhood. Off we went. Starting off at a good pace, the heat just really began to slow me down. The smell of the horses near by, the trees surrounding the area, I was definitely out of my element. I was running in heat that was roughly 25 degrees hotter than the usual San Diego weather! Did I mention that the temp was rated at a 105F index!? Smuldering... so instead, I resulted to just doing a couple of long walks sprinkling them with some really fast sprints. I even did a ridiculous leg getting my heart rate to the highest I've ever seen! Check out the details below. I'll trust Kurt on the hills next time, but I can't wait to really get back into "training" mode.
Now was the time to start an awesome overnight workout regiment. Staying at the Hilton in Downtown Toronto which has an awesome gym and accommodating facilities, I was determined to finish what would become my first hotel brick. The pool was pretty much full around 11:00am with the ensuing Caribana 2010 Festival going on and people checking in, but the indoor cycling machine and treadmill was available for full utilization! Sleep last night was almost a lost cause as I went to bed at 2:00am and woke up at 5:00am. Three hours of sleep wasn't that much, but at I was rested well enough to conduct one flight from Atlanta to Toronto. I knew that I needed some nutrients so I grabbed a quick airport breakfast of Corned Hash, Potatoes, Scrambled Eggs & a Biscuit somewhere on the Atlanta A Concourse then headed to the plane. I ate enroute, we landed smoothly, took the local shuttle downtown to the airport (25 minutes) where I took a light nap, checked-in, got to my room and quickly put on workout clothes.
I did so because I knew that if I laid down for just 1 minute, I would fall asleep. I got on the indoor cycling machine and started hammering. I set the timer at 1 hour knowing that I could at least get my 20K/12.2 miles in and around 30 minutes, I started really hurting. I could feel that my lack of sleep wasn't contributing to the ideal body feeling but I kept on going. I finished w/ approximately 16.73 miles in 65 minutes (5 minute cooldown) but I have to say that the riding position is far from the real thing. Not sure if that's going to affect my actual rides but the workout did do a number on my thigh burn.
I had to refill my water bottle during the transition but in order to do so, I had to swap out the water jugs on the cooler. I took a little bit of a breather and started a light jog at 6.0. My legs were definitely a little mushy but I increased the pace to 6.5 and felt great! At mile 2.0, I hit a wall but I kept on going. I increased to 7.0, then to 8.0 at the last quarter and did a long cool down stretching at the same time. 3.63 miles total!
There was a point in the transition that I was going to skip the run altogether, but I was proud of myself that I kept on going. I even walked another 4-5 miles with the crew around Downtown! I have to head to bed early for a 4:50am van ride back to the airport so, goodnight for now. I might wake up early and do some upper body or maybe some early morning yoga streches in the room. Good times in training.
After two weeks of Atlanta weather, northeast weather, and flying to other cities around midwest plus Canada, I finally made it back home to San Diego. With all the snow, freezing temperatures, rain, sleet and ice, I knew that I was missing something in my life! I've been Qik-ing from my iPhone for a little while now if you haven't noticed and today's video was just so awesome that it needed a separate entry. It captures the beauty of San Diego (actually taken at Swamis) and the gorgeous weather that we have. If you need the direct links to my Posterous or my Qik Profiles, they are to the right in the Personal Links. Those profiles are usually easier to update as you can tell. But I'm still here...still alive on elijahnicolas.com Check out the pictures and Qik Video!
Since the New Year's, I was finally able to pick up my car, meet a new friend named Jacob and take more pretty cool pictures using my Canon S90. We'll go in chronological order. If you don't remember what I did to my car last November, you can refresh yourself with some "before" video recorded by Qik on my iPhone. Of course, I posted an "after" video of the finished product because it was just about 2 months since I've driven the beast and I was excited to take delivery! Summing it up, I got what I wanted on my BMW 5.28iT Sport Wagon; an upgraded BMW E39 M5 Front bumper paired with Xenon Fog lamps as well as updated Angel Eye Headlights w/ clear corners! It all couldn't have been possible without the awesome help of Todd at Performance Auto Collision (company website / kudzu review) in Alpharetta, Atlanta who kept me up to date with the entire process and prevented Geico from using shady/cheaper third party parts, Umnitza - who provided the parts but I can't say it was without hardship in communication and transaction and of course Manoj who dropped me off to see my finished product.
Check it out the video and the pics!
and "we're back!" All in all, twelve days total of “work” transpire. If you wonder why twelve instead of ten, it’s the added day of commuting and getting reacquainted with Atlanta the days prior to my 4 day trip that kicks things off. This is without mentioning the quick trip to Las Vegas the three days prior which included driving in the rain and snow along the CA 15 Freeway.
Back on December 9th, I boarded a red eye flight from San Diego at 10:50pm to Atlanta, arrived almost an hour early around 5:00am, and was lucky to get to my apartment around 6:30am. I shut my eyes and got as much horizontal rest as possible. During this short journey, I was accompanied by another fellow employee on a similar schedule, who also happens to be my flatmate therefore, I have to admit that my plight is shared amongst others and am in need of no singular sympathy. Just listen, err, “sit back and relax and enjoy the flight”, err, read the blog.
Because of my unfortunate mistake a couple of weeks back (link), I was forced to get a ride back to the Atlanta Airport and pick up my other roommate’s VW Jetta that he so kindly lent me enabling my accomplishing of errands. Once completed, I rested at the apartment in preparation for what would be a freezing schedule.
Back to back overnights in Toronto followed by another in Akron, Ohio, two nights in Atlanta, one in Little Rock, Arkansas and then two more in Portland, Maine was what laid ahead of me and thinking of it all just made me tune out. Sometimes I refer to this as teleporting, but only a handful know what I’m talking about. If you care to chime in, let’s do it over coffee and an open mind. ^_^
I found myself, once again, lost in my mind, so to speak. It’s been a rather difficult last couple of days only because the blur that is my life feels less and less controllable, but then again, I can reason that it is otherwise.
A few of my closest friends recognize the misty eyes or absence of me, but the character that I normally am temporarily disappeared. Slowly drifting back into the calm, I find myself in desperate need of my comfy bed at home in San Diego, the lively bodies that inhabit my house on Classique and the warmth of the season. I can’t wait to get home.
The month of September ended in a whirlwind of vacationing, moving and surviving the slew of mosquito bites that I suffered both from Nicaragua and Atlanta. The last week in September was dedicated to moving, but after a great night of splurging at Taco Mac with some good pilot buddies, my roommate and I still hadn't made a final decision on where we would end up. Eventually being forced to move out of our apartment because the management ended up renting it out to a couple of college girls, we were lucky to be able to negotiate for a "non-upgraded" 2 bedroom, two bath for even cheaper than what we were paying in the same complex! The non-upgraded tag once specifies that it has black appliances rather than white ones, but you can't tell the difference at all anyways. We now have a pool view, and a 1-year lease for $818/mo (that's actually $750 + their fees for water / sewer / garbage, etc). I think we definitely scored as we're also closer to the front of the property making it so much easier to access the huge trashbin, Starbucks across the street, my favorite Cuban restaurant Coco-Loco, as well as Best Buy and the MARTA. I'm happy with the place and I'm just happy that my roommate, Mark Russell and I have a place that we both like a lot. Dealing with Comcast in trying to get the cable line activated was a little bit of a cluster, but apparently, it was disconnected within our apartment!? I guess it would have made sense for them to send out a mechanic guy to our apartment rather than just assuming turning it on from the outside was all they would need to do.
I finally made it back to San Diego by way of ATL-PHX-SAN and the last leg was great. Southwest is always just really friendly, but I have to admit that the two Delta pilots were great company for the 3.8 hrs in the jumpseat. Thanks for the ride guys!
For now, I'm just excited to be back home but there is so much to do when it comes to cleaning up my desk space, taking my bike out for a ride and hanging out with my favorite girl!
In the meantime, check out my new favorite drink at http://elijahnicolas.posterous.com/favorite-new-drink-and-turtwig-on-a-couch-at and the relaunch of the "peak interest" podcast at www.peakinterest.net or via iTunes.
So, what do I do? Come this February, the Loxford Lounge / Farm House will end a 2 year lease agreement and all seven of us have already made plans to move out. Well, at least 4 of us have a housing situation already in the works, but that leaves me with the questions of paying rent for an apartment / room in Atlanta or just commuting in and out and maybe using a hotel every now and then. If you take my current situation into account, I pay ~$120 for a loft space per month but then in February, that will most likely end up being ~$300 or more for a room with two other great guys. Of course, that just negated the mediocre pay increase that I will be getting and the fact that I'm hardly here utilizing my living quarters just irritates me. In the month of November, I think that I was in the loft a total of 3-4 times. So with a hotel near the airport at around $50 a night, I'm still doing better with the loft, but then when the rent increases to an amount > $300, it'll take about 6 night stays to make it worthwhile. Do you get it?
Granted the loads on mainline Delta have really taken a dive and sometimes going from San Diego to Atlanta every week can get tiring, but it always ends up working out anyways. So, with this big decision, I have to come to terms with my belongings that I have in Atlanta on whether or not to spend the extra cash to move everything home to San Diego in one big crate, or piece by piece, etc. Obviously if I stay in Atlanta and have a place of residence, then I can keep some of my stuff here and just postpone the inevitable move back to San Diego, but who knows. I have a feeling that I might end up here at ASA a little while longer so I might as well get use to Atlanta? I have no frigging clue. It basically winds down to the want that I have to find a place that is relatively inexpensive to where it'll be less than what I would spend a month on a hotel in Atlanta and still be with people i know. I also want to have the option to actually "live" there for 2-3 days in a row just incase I decided not to fly to San Diego or the mere fact that I might not be able to get on due to full capacity.
This also brings up the other fact that now since I sold the old turbo diesel in San Diego, I am without transportation and am contemplating whether or not I need a car in Atlanta? I have one here, but it doesn't get use that often and the last time I left it alone for more than 11 days, the battery died on me. What the heck people!?
Two years ago at this time, I was just settling back in America from my 3 month excursion to Europe, hanging out with friends in San Diego and getting ready to head back to Fort Lauderdale to hear the fate of gamble at a startup cargo carrier. With all the negative news surrounding what regional carrier would have a future, anything really seemed better than what we were faced with: pilots with over $100k in debt, no idea where to go next and what to do. Then, we got a departure stipend from the failed company (a meager amount to just barely cover costs of recurrent training at our previous flight school) and all of a sudden we were preparing for an interview with one airline when another swopped in the to interview us two days earlier. The rest is history as we all started on the 27th of December here at Atlantic Southeast Airlines.
We all couldn't' have been more thankful and gracious to our directors of the program for helping us move on. It was the best Christmas as we virtually never lost any pay moving from one place to the next.
Now, in an industry where furloughs (layoffs) are inevitable, wages barely livable with loan payments and rent taking more than 50%, it's something that we have all come to live with. Having never flown out of the base that I thought I was going to be domiciled at (LAX), I'm also coming to the slow realization that I will be stuck here in Atlanta a little while longer. As more pilots are finding themselves without a job and competing with the rest of us for that next step, it's not necessarily a dire position to be in, but it's not the best to start a new life. 2008 was full of improvements and 2009 should be edge more towards the second step in the changing of guards -- cutting overall costs. Until then, I have a great schedule for December as I have Christmas Eve and New Years' off and will just reflect on the current obstacle: finding a living situation in Atlanta for February 2009; to crashpad or not to crashpad.
I'm finding myself having to ride Mainline Delta quite a bit more these days as my AirTran options have diminished from 4 flights a day to San Diego from Atlanta to only one or two and even an occasional none. It's a little frightening on how it will impact my commute as the Delta flights are pretty much always impacted and oversold, but I guess I'll have to make due. My schedule for October is going to be as financially successful due to the lack of available trips to pick up and the fact that I had to cut one of my trips in half to an obligation in Fulton County. If you forgot already, I'm set for a court appearance in relation to my speeding ticket that I got a couple of weeks back while driving to the airport.
This is only my 3rd time using Qumana, a free blog editor for Mac OSX and I have to admit that I sometimes find the interface much more accommodating than the Windows Live Writer. The reason for the transition back to using my Powerbook Ti is because I miss it. It's the truth but the 667 MHz is sometimes just frustrating. The battery life is long lasting and the size is great but the 30Gb hard drive also is a handicap. I wish that I just had two good computers to use and stick with instead of being all over the place. I have a broken HP dv1000 laptop at home that needs to be diagnosed (might need a new hard drive), a dual Pentium 3 1GHz tower that I've had for years which should still run, but I have no clue why it's not booting up and a box of parts sitting in Atlanta waiting to be put together.
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So check this out. My flight tonight was scheduled from Atlanta to Macon, Georgia: Flight ASQ4222 operating for Delta Connection. It's a quick 18 minute flight from takeoff to touchdown for a total of 75 miles to the southeast of Atlanta. Of course, we end up blocking about 40 minutes for total flight. That time includes the taxi time around Atlanta and Macon thus concluding that the taxi time is longer than the flight by about 2 minutes. That's normal for some of our quick hops, but now get this.
The van ride from the Middle Georgia Regional / Macon Airport is approximately 24.2 miles back to the north west for a total of 30 minutes in van ride! Granted it was a nice Honda Odyseey and not a Ford Van that absorbs no shock or bump whatsoever, so it really wasn't that bad but tell me that's just not right!
So, now I have about 8 hours until I have to wake up (aorund 6:15 and be downstairs by 7:15 ready to go in the hotel lobby for a 30 minute van ride back to Macon Airport, followed by 5 legs concluding at 1600 then take a flight back to San Diego. It's going to be a doozy!
In the next few months, I will be slowly transitioning to being more of a commuter and force myself to always fly home no matter what. In other words, even if I have two days off, I will be flying back home to San Diego. You see, the lease on our awesome Loxford Lounge Crashpad is due this up and coming February which leaves just under 7 months to slowly move. Being that I haven't been around lately, doesn't really leave me that much time to pack up and go. As long as I make it a habit to pack at least one box a week or month, I'll be all moved out by year's end making my reliance on the crashpad wither down to zilch.
It is hard though now that I have been doing it a lot lately, but it really just takes will power. I'm now able to concentrate on coming home since the fact my parents moved back to San Diego which cuts the drive home by almost 75% and is a lot more convenient all together.
I was able to catch a flight on Delta Mainline this evening which is actually a rarity since I have been using the competition due to their availability. Delta has always been full to and from Atlanta so my dependency has risen on Airtran thus enabling my frequent trips back home.
The necessity for a crashpad in Atlanta would be only for the days that I am stuck in ATL due to weather or the times when I have training, but I guess that doesn't amount to more than what I would ben spending a year of keeping a place within the airport limits.
I'm going to do it! I really am and I feel more confident than ever because of my desire to surf a lot more and just swim and get more physically fit. I have till end of the year to really achieve what I have been aiming for and that is normalcy.