Tag Archives: F-16

The Elusive Blue Cable

I guess I don’t get out much and that is why I don’t blog much anymore.  I can’t help but want to share this wonderful fishing story with you.  I hope you enjoy it.  One thing I ask you, please read this post as if you were whispering to yourself.

I found myself in Daytona Beach, Florida with Jitters and Baywatch recruiting students at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to work at Space Camp. We ate lunch at Ocean Deck restaurant just off the beach here in Daytona.  Today the Thunderbirds were practicing for their air show this weekend.  Being Aviation Challenge staffers once upon a time, we had to hit the beach to watch their aerial assault verses the seagulls.  It was amazing!!! Only thing better was watching F-16s landing at Luke AFB a few years back.

We walked down to the pier where Joe’s Crab Shack is located.  We wanted to walk all the way to the end of the pier to see the wonderful waves crashing into the shoreline.  There was a fisherman with a lady fishing toward the end of the peer.  We noticed the lady first, because she was wearing a hot pink bikini top with jean shorts.  I knew I was in Florida when I saw the jean shorts.  All of a sudden, the fisherman yells, “I have caught one!”  The lady comes running to help.  I am captured by the drama unfolding. We are excited, because we are about to see a giant fish leap from the water.  The man is wrestling with the rod and reel.  A crowd of bystanders start to form around the fisherman when the lady goes to retrieve her matching hot pink camera.

The lady comes over to her fishing buddy ready to take a photo of this tireless fish that must be extremely large.  The struggle for the fish had taken almost five or so minutes.  I survey the water below in hopes to catch a glimpse of this mammoth creature.  I see the line and the beast that has been caught by the heroic fisherman is none other than an elusive blue cable.  Yes, a blue cable/rope tied to the pier with a net attached to keep the day’s catch fresh while the fisherman was fishing. Yes, the fisherman had caught his own equipment from the opposite side of the pier.  The reason this elusive blue cable was putting up such a fight was because there was a gallon milk jug tied to the rope as a weight.

The fisherman continued to fight with his line.  All I could do was look at Jitters and Baywatch and say, “would you just look at that!”  We walked away, into the sunset, never to be seen again.

The End

AC Birthday Bonanza

Funfetti Cake... Dixons! Today was my birthday! Someone told me it was a special day. I replied with “I am too old for a special day”.  Reluctantly, today has been a very special day. From birthday greetings on Facebook, to the delivery of the F-16 engine at Aviation Challenge, it was a spectacular day! Today would have a been a great day if all I did was hang out on the right wing of Story Musgrave’s T-38 while Snapper and Slip Knot taped the plane. Today would have been great if I had only hung out with Tank and Divot as the engine was lifted off the 18-wheeler. But I got to hang out with all my friends.

My birthday started with a text message to my friend and delta twin Emily Erwin. Emily and I graduated from Delta State together a really long time ago. One spring afternoon, way back in 1996, on a golf course with Ricky Jones we discovered that we shared a birthday. Emily has always been one of my favorite people. Knowing that I share my birthday with the coolest, curly haired chick in the Mississippi Delta is special… Special day confirmed! She pointed out that year 33 should be known as the Year of Boo. Not my dog, but Boo Ferris the former Boston Red Sox pitcher and Delta resident! Emily is the curator of the Boo Ferris museum.

F-16 Engine... Pratt Whittney Perfection!This morning I arrived at camp, and the fact that I work at a camp is pretty special all by it’s self. Breakfast was chicken biscuits in the chilly rail car. All was great I thought, I thought that the plane would be painted before lunch, but I was wrong. Unexpectedly a super secret terrorist organization kidnapped all of the AC management team but me and I had to rush to their rescue. Not really, but that was the scenario I was given. I rushed to the freshly painted Hab3 showers, climbed the Pamper pole, raced to the Davidson Center, right justified, and then toward A Time for Courage. All made sense when I finally made it to the Corporate Classroom, not the Board room, and found all my fellow buds along side a funfetti cake and power point projection.

Slip Knot was the pastry chef this year! She made three cakes, two Dixon Ticonderoga pencil cakes and a chocolate checker board cake for Marcia who doesn’t like funfetti. Marcia didn’t know that funfetti was the official cake of Aviation Challenge! The gang had tried surprising me with a website for my blog. I had forgotten to tell them that graphitefree.com was already my domain name, so that wasn’t an option. They did give me number 2 Dixon Ticonderogas with graphitefree.com stamped on them. I am very excited!!!

T-38 Table!!!Shortly there after, we got a call for the recruiting goddess, Charity N. Stewart, about the F-16 engine making a legal U-turn in front of HR and headed to Aviation Challenge. But the day wasn’t over after the F-16 engine was put into place. I got to help (in a small way) put the stripes on the T-38. Discussing the future paint scheme of the YAV-8B Harrier was another highlight to an already special day. The Harrier will be a great paint testament to all those who love Aviation Challenge. It will show what pride, professionalism, and leadership truly is to all the campers and staff in the next generation of AC. I love my life at AC! I love eating lunch on the wing of the T-38! I love seeing things improve throughout the years. I love funfetti and all the other official AC brands!


I am an addict. There I said it and I have come clean. I know what you may be thinking. But it isn’t what you think. But I am an addict. My first addiction was simple, nothing to worry my parents. Since then things have only grown more and more out of my grasp. From something as small as a VHS tape to as large as a house or as deadly as an F-16 to as whimsical as a cartoon. This is the story of my addiction.

Addiction is defined by Webster & Oliver as, compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance such as knowledge; characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal or in this case expansion; broadly: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user or in the case of Ruth as enlightenment.

I am addicted to knowledge and understanding. I have always been this way. I find a topic, devour it and move to the next topic. My first addiction was the movie Princess Bride… wow I love that movie. From the first time I watched the adventures of Buttercup and Wesley until I memorized the dialog it was a constant in my daily existence, similar to milk in an infant’s life. From this I moved on to NASA, golf, baseball stats or pop music. No matter what the topic was I would research it, learn it, master it and move on to the next addiction.

I find myself fixating on one topic. Just the word fixate is attractive to me. Look at the synonyms to fixate, to preoccupy, to consume, or grip. Each of these words is true to my addiction of information. Find topic, consume topic, find a new topic, consume and repeat.

When I started work at Aviation Challenge, a realistic military aviation experience, I couldn’t tell you the difference between the F-14 Tomcat and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Most women couldn’t tell the difference in these two aircraft. Why should I? Late one night I was researching the development of the F-16 or Lightweight Fighter on the internet when I ran across Col. John Boyd. This led me to the annihilation of other topics. I obsessed over addictive topics such as Boyd developing the Energy-Maneuverability Theory with Thomas Christie and then his war strategy known as OODA loop.

Look at my infatuation over pencils. Is it normal for a grown woman to shout in a dark movie theater, “LOOK A DIXON TICONDEROGA” when one is shown on the silver screen? This addiction started tame at first. One fall after leaving the classroom I missed shopping for school supplies. I missed my pencils. I purchased a dozen of the world’s best pencil. Yes, I had in my hand twelve of Joseph Dixon’s pride and joy. Twelve sharp wooden objects lead to the research and development of my version of “The Presentation that Everybody LIKES,” the “best of it’s kind.”

I have consumed everything from a seminary level textbook on theology to the difference between Tennessee sippin’ whiskey and Kentucky bourbon, from Pixar movies like Wall-E to details of the Space Shuttle. I obsess over them all. I know these are strange pairings, but if it is fascinating I will study it. If it is obscure I will learn every detail about it. And if it is enjoyable, I will over indulge myself in the topic. This startling fact has led me to the conclusion that I am addicted. If the first step is admitting you have a problem, now what is the next step… starting a blog about it?