John & Anne Wiley

2011/10/31

Hobbies & Obsessions

When I was a kid, airplanes were my hobby. I built plastic scale aircraft models that helped develop patience and fine motor skills, and opened a world of imaginary adventures “flying” them into combat or over trackless jungles. I built flying models with balsa wood and paper, that would climb in lazy circles and glide for a mile or two as I ran in exuberant pursuit.

My largest improvised free flying model had a wing span of 3 feet, and bubble canopies made of clear packaging on either side of the upholstered cockpit. I caught an alligator lizard and trimmed the plane to fly straight so that when the lizard would run from one window to the other, the plane would change directions in response. While some kids still build planes and dream of flight, many now enjoy new sports like this.

7441 Ojai Skate Park

7441 Ojai Skate Park

I was delighted to spot this on our flight over Ojai, and look forward to snapping the similar park on Cabrillo (along the beach by the wharf). We’ve paused there on the beach sidewalk for great free entertainment watching the impressive tricks kids of all ages practice.

But is there a dividing line between hobby and obsession, and should there be? How can these kids (or aviation buffs like me in an earlier era) develop knowledge and skills without at least temporary obsession? Should I have grown out of it, or can I be excused an obsession that costs only about twice what driving a car does, or if I only fly once a week? I confess that despite the relatively small expense and infrequent indulgence, it feels like an obsession (case in point, my recent “itchy feather” post). I often think of our pilot and aircraft-owning friend’s answer to Anne’s question: “How do you budget your flying?” After a long and thoughtful pause she replied, “Well, I fly. Then I budget what’s left.”

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2011/10/30

Oh, High

When we flew to Santa Paula yesterday, we took a detour via the nearby town of Ojai. Last time we drove there with friends, we strolled the central shopping area and the park across the street.

7446 Ojai

7446 Ojai

I feel an energy in Ojai, maybe from having visited Beato (Beatrice Wood) there some years ago. Perhaps the spiritual centers on either side of town, one for a guru and the other for an organization he’d once been affiliated with. Plenty of Santa Barbarians love to go there, but for some reason I find it easy to go only rarely. I guess if they had an airport we’d go more often. 🙂

2011/10/29

Traffic Stop

My “feathers” got a good scratch today, because we flew Dad to Santa Paula. It’s such a delight to share flying with someone who loves it. Dad’s logged thousands of hours flying for the Navy in WWII, and he loves it more than most.

Along the way, I was treated to a traffic jam on the 101 freeway. I say treated because of a sadistic personality defect developed since getting my pilot license. Anytime the roads slow I remember years of sitting in such surface congestion, when I used to glance longingly up at any passing plane.

7433 Traffic on 101

7433 Traffic on 101

Looks like maybe the driver of this semi truck had a medical issue. Traffic was slow in both directions as people slowed to take in the scene.

7432 Sudden Change

7432 Sudden Change

Whether the trucker or someone else, anytime we see or hear an ambulance we think about what a sudden and dramatic change such vehicles portend for someone. I’m reminded of the 5am ride Anne had a few years ago after a routine medical exam the day before went horribly wrong. The sound of a siren is almost like a mourning wail to me now. I’m glad we three were all happy and healthy flying slowly and quietly past, and hope it all turned out ok down there.

2011/10/28

Itchy Feathers

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,People,Random,SB Region — John @ 09:41

When I don’t fly for a while, a feeling arises that I call “itchy feathers.” After about a week on the ground, this sensation grows in strength and pops into my awareness more with each day I don’t fly. It’s much worse on when I look out the window in the morning and see good flying weather. I had a major itchy attack this morning. Since it wasn’t convenient to fly due to things we needed to do around town, I got some relief from driving to/from town via “our” Stevens Park bridge.

7393 Stevens Bridge

7393 Stevens Bridge

The mountains won today’s vote both times, even though the islands were relatively clear. I posted a version of this next pic on Edhat hoping one of the local history experts there could tell me more about it.

7394 Palm Curve

7394 Palm Curve

Who planted the palms along this street near the bridge, and why? Maybe at some point there was a grand estate at the end of the palm-lined avenue? Maybe some housing development with a mid-east theme?

A little further along we got a panoramic view of the Tea Fire disaster. A bonfire at the iconic abandoned tea gardens (I’ve marked it with a white circle at the upper right) got away from the kids who’d built it.

7396 Tea Fire Footprint

7396 Tea Fire Footprint

It had been kicked up by “sundowner” wind and raced up, down, and along the mountain destroying many buildings. The stadium and buildings of Westmont College at the lower right were threatened, and with no time to escape by road people had to shelter in place. Many buildings still haven’t been replaced, and as you can see the mountains have a long way to re-grow their ground cover.

I don’t know if it’s a mansion or some sort of commercial building, but this last pic doesn’t seem to be part of the Westmont campus.

7397 Palm Estate

7397 Palm Estate

It has lots of beautiful palm trees like the curve at the top, but this is several miles West so surely not part of the same development or road.

2011/10/25

Immigrants On Top

Both pix I chose for today’s post seem to have immigrants on top. First the church in the upper Montecito Village that looks like it has walls three feet thick. In this pic you can see they’re pretty much standard walls, but the recessed windows give the effect of a centuries old adobe with massive walls.

7367 Walls & Roof

7367 Walls & Roof

If you click to see the larger version you can make out the worker on the roof who’s wearing a hat of the sort favored by local migrant workers. Today’s other pic strikes me like an impression of Disneyland. Maybe the “colonial” look, or the tidy and symmetrical landscaping, or the color scheme.

7373 Fantasyland

7373 Fantasyland

If you click this one to see the larger version, you can make out another migrant worker at the top doing something with his pickup truck. After presumably working in or around this manse, he’s turned attention to the aging vehicle that takes him to a very different part of town.

There’s something about flying over scenes like these, noticing something, snapping a pic, and then looking at the full-size version days later. Often there’s something I hadn’t noticed, or couldn’t even see from the air, that explains what caught my eye or moved me to snap. Sometimes there’s some detail more interesting than the overall scene, that was invisible from the air (like the two people in these pix). Now and then there will be a combination of overview and detail that adds greatly to my enjoyment, and an example is this second pic. I love the impression and feel evoked by the mansion and estate, and the contrast provided by imagining a guy who helped create and maintain that opulence but can’t afford a reliable work truck. Guess I’m officially a Liberal, whatever that means. 🙂

I’m going to toss in one more pic I like from that flight, of a shirtless guy in a boat looking at the seals on the buoy just outside the Santa Barbara harbor. Does this (or the other two) evoke anything for you?

7385 Buoy Toy

7385 Buoy Toy

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