Aluminum Ornithology

As a plane geek, I love living near Pt. Mugu Naval Air Weapons Station. There’s always something exciting flying around. 

One day a Marine Corps OV-22 Osprey will fly over. Last week, it was an Air Force E-3 Sentry AWACS. Over the past month, I’ve seen a Coast Guard HC-130J, several flights of Navy F/A-18 Hornets, E-2 Hawkeyes, Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphins, and Air National Guard C-130Js.

Happy/happy/happy.

Catbird seat

Occasionally, people who know that I lived in China for two decades will ask me what I miss about the place now that I have been living in the US again for nine years.

I miss the people, of course, but I still keep in touch with a lot of them. I missed my in-laws very much, but over the last year, they have both passed away.

And I miss taking the train everywhere, especially High-Speed Rail, the G-trains.

That is almost enough to convince me to go back. But the idea of sitting through a thirty-day quarantine simply to deal with the compound challenges and red-tape that now enwrap domestic travel in China carries little appeal. Sadly, my next high-speed rail journey will either be Acela or EuroStar, and I don’t know when – or if – I will ever find myself on Harmony again.

But those were good times, and I want to tip the hat to David Feng and all of the wonderful people on China High-Speed Rail. Thank you all for helping me rediscover my love of rail travel.

You know those dirty marks left on a jetliner around the outside of the forward left exit door? I have a new term for them: “gate hickeys.”

Bad idea of the century: taking a corporate jet, extending it 10 feet, cramming it with seats, and selling it as a “regional jet.” RJs are one of the most significant reasons I would rather drive for 6 hours than fly for 1.

What was the best single-aisle jetliner in the world, and why was it the Boeing 757? Discuss.

Great Burgers

As I chewed my way through an Angus Burger at Rockit in Chicago back in 2019, a truism occurred to me:

The way to separate great meat from the merely good is to serve it well-done. A patty made from “good” meat will offer decent texture and the flavor of the grill. A “great” patty will give you both along with great flavor from the meat itself, even when on the edge of being overcooked.

So yes, thanks, I will have mine well done, please.

Home on the Range

My favorite tent ever. Retro look, seven feet long, easy up, easy down, weighs two pounds, fits into a bag the size of a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle, and set me back a whopping $52 delivered.

I should buy two.

When in Portland, Eat Elk

 

Three years later, I am still thinking about this elk burger (with avocado instead of cheese) I enjoyed at the taproom of Deschutes Brewery in Portland.

I just checked. The restaurant made it through COVID, is still open, and the elk burger is still on the menu.

I’m thinking “road trip.”

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