The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

Lapping Day 2018 Just a couple of pics for this post, I’ll explain why in a minute.

As you know, my 2003 Mini Cooper S needed enough expensive surgery to warrant me putting her down. While I was looking for something around my figured budget (about $12,000) my wife asked me about a 2016 John Cooper Works Mini she’d found in St. Catherines.

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Here it is here, so you know how that turned out.

Now as anybody who reads this blog knows, I’m a fan of Mini and the JCW is the pinnacle as far as a factory built car goes. My Gen 3 is a far cry from my other Gen 1s. I went from 163 HP with a supercharger to 240 HP with twin turbos.

Ever since I bought the car back in June, I’ve been looking to get it out on a track. It took me a bit to track down a group I wanted to go with but I finally found it in Infinite Motorsports. I just missed their last lapping track day back in August but I signed up for their October session at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park).

Because I’m a Novice, I would have an instructor in the car with me for every on track session and there was also a thirty minute class after the day’s initial safety briefing. The safety briefing was thorough and sombering as the flags and what your in vehicle response to them were explained. Even though you’re out there for a day of fun, it’s all very serious business.

In the classroom, I learned my hand position on the steering wheel had been wrong my whole driving life as well as my seating position and mirrors. They have since been adjusted.

The first on track session, your instructor takes you round the track to show you the speeds, lines, entry and exit points to the corners. The noises your tires make are alarming because on the regular road, those sort of noises mean it’s all going Pete Tong. On the track you learn to understand those howls of protest mean you’re doing things right. This, and I can’t stress this enough, is not an easy lesson to learn. Everything to do with what’s going on outside your windshield, your instructor is telling you. It’s a lot to take in, it requires all of your attention and this was not a day where I wanted any distraction from the task at hand.

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This is the layout of the track. Damn near every corner with the exception of the Esses (turns 8,9 and 10) have an elevation change prior to or just after them. Going in blind was pretty scary but to help you out, there were cones placed at the entry and exit points of the turns. At turn 2, you brake (just a touch) at the high point, just before the pedestrian bridge, then you turn in and aim for the inside of the turn. As you pass by that you aim for the new tarmac strip at the base of the turn. As you pass the start of that, you turn in to pick up the end of the inside of turn two and aim for the end of the turtles (trackside indicators) that your now considerable velocity is propelling you towards. As you hit those, you turn towards the outside of the start of turn three, then brake and turn into the inside of turn three. Then you hold it on the new tarmac round turn three while giving it some throttle etc. etc. Up until lunch I was fighting my instincts to slow down through all of this. It took my instructor continually saying, “Stay off the brakes, stay off the brakes, keep it steady,” to break me of my bad habits.

The only place on the track I could check my speed was on the Mario Andretti Straight and that was usually to gauge what my entry speed into the braking zone after the Canadian Tire sign at corner 7. Which is why I can tell you my top speed but not my general speed for each turn as my focus was not on my instrument cluster, it was on not muffing my gear change or entry point.

Twenty minutes on track goes by fast. Because you’re only up once every hour, you spend at least two laps warming your tires and then the rest of your laps are about getting round that track as fast as you can. There was a passing etiquette but there were a few drivers who were slow to indicate the safe pass but this was pretty rare.

The whole time, my instructor kept guiding me through the twists and turns with a calm steady voice. Even when we hit a slippy patch during some light rain and slid sideways on all four tires before I found grip again.

I saw some very cool cars. I met some very cool people and I got to drive my car like it was meant to be driven. All in all a pretty great day. Once I get the pictures back from the photographers who were there to shoot the whole thing, I’ll post them up.

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Back when I was a teenager, I made no fewer than three B-29 models. It has always been an aircraft that fascinated me because it was so different in design principle from other bombers of its day. It had been a dream to fly in one ever since then. Though part of me realized even then, this was a highly unlikely scenario.

Zoom to 2018. Back in February, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton informed its members that, “Fifi,” of the Commemorative Air Force out of Texas would be making the museum one of its stops and would be offering rides.

I talked it over with my wife, we both knew the flight would not be cheap. These old girls take a lot of time, effort, oil, gas and rubber to keep in the air. Anybody who flies in one is going to be an enthusiast. In the end, it was a, “Go big or go home,” moment. I could purchase a cheaper place in the rear of the aircraft but at the time we had the scratch, so I reserved the Bombadier’s position right in the nose and yes, it was not cheap.

Two weeks later, the company I was employed at went bankrupt. About a month after that, I bought into a new company. 2018 was not off to a good start but it was off to an expensive one.

Was there any regret at spending so much on the B-29 flight. A little but the reality was, the money was spent and life is short. The experience would be worth it. Plus, a B-50 (the upengined version of the B-29) was going to figure heavily in my next book and actually feeling what it was like to be in the aircraft in flight was going to be a huge plus to writing about it. So I wrestled with my feelings of dread and got on with living my life and making my commitment to my new company matter.

Now any day you fly in a vintage warbird is an experience, with it’s own ups and downs and situations to overcome. When I flew in the Lancaster, it was one of the rougher days in the air I’d ever experienced. I’ll be honest, I was pretty ill for a few hours after the flight. Flying in the PB5Y – Canso was by comparison was a much different experience though because of timing, we did a hot turnaround on the tarmac between flight. Which essentially means they keep the engines running while you board and those props do not feel that far away from you as you do this. Videos of both these flights are available on my Youtube channel.

Flying in, “Fifi,” was not going to be any different.

The first flight of the day was scheduled for 9:30am, my flight was scheduled for 10:30am. I checked in at 9:00am. Then you wait. The first flight was being held because the ceiling was at 900ft and in order to fly, it had to be above 1500ft. No big deal. It was a day that was heating up so the ceiling would lift and the air for the most part felt calm. I reasoned I could get some coverage of start up and taxiing to cut into my head camera footage. About two hours later, the first flight got off the ground.

My group then convened around the flight tent and got to know each other as we waited for their return.

Once the other flight was landed and everybody had deplaned we were led out to the aircraft and had our safety briefing. It was getting on towards about 1:00pm at this point. The safety talk done we boarded. As I was in the nose, I went up first and got into position in the nose and waited for everybody else to board.

The pilots got in, the rest of the guys in the nose got in and we waited for the guys in the back to do the same, and waited, and waited some more. After about fifteen minutes there was some brief radio chatter back and forth between the pilots and the hardstand crew. One of the passengers in the rear, a gentleman who I’d clocked at near if not over eighty had not been physically able to get up the ladder into the tail because of some body mobility issues. Rather than accept the fact he couldn’t accomplish entry, he pushed the issue and slipped and fell into the airframe. We were asked to deplane because of this now medical incident. I knew from my own first aid and enclosed space training this was not going to be an easy situation to resolve.

Paramedics were on scene in record time and we watched them work with the crew and CWHM staff on the hardstand to stabilize the patient and come up with an extraction plan. I’m happy to say, the gentleman was extracted and whisked off to hospital about forty minutes later. I hope the gentleman has since fully recovered from his ordeal. His now empty seat was quickly sold off and we were back in the aircraft fifteen minutes later and taxiing down the runway as soon as the engines were started and run up.

You can watch the whole B-29 Flight here by clicking the link.

As far as flights go, it was great and very different from my other flights. Fifi is treated very gently in the air. When I flew in the Lancaster, the pilots didn’t mind showing off what she was capable of. I and my stomach, sure don’t mind a nice smooth flight.

If you live near a flying museum and have the funds, I highly recommend taking a flight in the warbird of your choice. It helps keep these birds in the air and it also keeps the sacrifices of the men and women who flew and kept them flying and many of who did not survive conflict to come home.

Please also take a look at my books available through Amazon and Createspace by clicking the link and if you like what you read, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

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On last year’s trip out west I noticed some physical issues with my body cropping up. My stamina was for shit and everything seemed to hurt a lot more at the end of a day’s riding than it ever had before. At the time I wrote a good deal of it off as being related to my type 2 Diabetes and the meds I was taking to combat it. A few years back I slipped and fell down the stairs in our condo. The result of the fall was I tore part of my deltoid muscle off of the bone. It was later reattached and I do have full range of motion in the arm again. However, the surgeon told me at the time I had arthritis in the shoulder and the channel the main nerve that runs down your arm to your hand goes through was narrowing.

Which brings us back to last year’s trip. I’d noticed a bit of numbness creeping in to my throttle hand now and again during the ride. I chalked it up to riding position and tried to vary how I sat and gripped my throttle and handlebars accordingly and for the most part, the pins and needles feeling was kept at bay.

This year due to work and weather on the days I could ride, my riding has been scarce but the last two attempts have revealed a serious deficit in my right hand. It completely goes to sleep. I have no sensation in it about twenty minutes after getting on the bike and any attempt to rest it and get the feeling back is only temporary.

If it was my left hand, I’d muddle along and figure out the new normal but it’s my right hand. My throttle and brake hand and that is far more problematic. Maybe not so much for throttle but critical for braking. If I can’t feel how much brake I’ve giving on my front end, I’m at a severe disadvantage.

I’m hoping to get in to see my surgeon before the end of the year. There is a good chance because of the nerve, things can’t be fixed by surgery and if that’s the case, I’ll have to give serious consideration to no longer riding a motorcycle. Something that would leave me gutted. But the reality is if I continue the way I am right now, it’s not a safe pursuit.

I’m hoping my surgeon will have a solution and it won’t leave me with an immobilised arm for eight weeks like the last time.

“Things,” as a general rule aren’t supposed to be the foundation for your happiness. Focusing on acquiring this or that to make your life complete leads to a shallow and venal existence of trying to chase the high of possession with the next possession and the one after that until all you have is stuff that you can’t remember why you bought it in the first place.

That being said, many, “Things,” in my life give me great pleasure and have been well worth the money invested in them. Like my camera which allows me to get shots like the one below.

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Or my V-Strom which has taken me all over the US and Canada to some pretty spectacular places and which has run pretty much flawlessly through some truly heinous weather and tough terrain.

And then there’s my love of the Mini Cooper S. While my love of Ferrari and Porsche have been strong my love of the Mini Cooper S has been enduring. I saw my first Mini in a rally in Scotland my Papa had taken me to when I was about seven. It was coming off of a small hump in the track all but sideways to make the hard turn into a sharp corner. It left in a shower of mud and gravel and the smell of Castrol and gasoline (to this day, still two of my favourite smells). I’ve been a fan ever since.

For some reason and certainly not one where I consciously planned it that way, the majority of my cars have been manual transmissions. I prefer a manual over an automatic. It feels more like driving to me and always has.

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Minis are a funny car. Even used, they tend to be high mileage. The reason is simple, they’re stupid fun to drive and people find themselves making up excuses to just go drive somewhere. So when I purchased the above 03 Cooper S it had over 200,000km on the clock and it would be my daily driver for the next three years. It weighed just under 2800 lbs and pushed 163 bhp out of it’s 1.6L Supercharged engine and yes, it was stupid fun to drive. Unfortunately, all complex systems move towards entropy. I’d noticed it was leaking a bit of oil from the engine. I knew it possibly had a leak by the valve cover but the word back from my mechanic was much worse. It had multiple gaskets that had failed or were in the course of failing and it was coming up on time to replace the timing chain in the motor. The bill for all of this exceeded the value of the car. Not good news at all.

I started to look through the auto ads to see about a newer replacement. I’d decided to look for a 2010 Cooper S. The prices weren’t bad and there was a decent selection to choose from in the market.

My wife was also looking for me though she was choosing a much more direct route through BMW. “What about this one?” She asked and showed me a 2016 John Cooper Works Mini being sold in Ottawa.

“Well yeah,” I replied. “That would be amazing but it’s well above what I was going to spend.” She then went on about some stuff to do with our finances but really all I had heard at that point was, “You can buy the car of your dreams.”

I fired off an inquiry to the Ottawa dealership via email and figured I’d hear back the next day.

There were a couple of other JCW Minis being sold in St. Catherines down by Niagara so I fired off an email to them as well. Bear in mind, this was about 8pm at night. I got a call from their sales manager twelve minutes later. Usually I only get this kind of response time when I’m buying 3D CAD software. An appointment was made to view their stock that Saturday.

Now I’ve bought a few cars but I’ve never been treated like I was at Mini of St. Catherines. Maybe it’s because they know you’re there to buy a specific marque of car but there was zero pressure and certainly none of the sort of car sale antics you sort of expect. They made it all very easy.

Colin and I took the 2016 JCW for a test drive (Yes, the one below, so you know how that turned out). I’ve never been in a car where it felt like I was holding it back like this one and I hadn’t even engaged the exhaust gate. By comparison, the 2017 I test drove next felt sedate.

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The JCW comes in at just under 2900 lbs with 228 bhp from a 2.0L engine. However with the performance package, the output is bumped to 240 bhp and when the twin turbos kick in, this thing launches.

Every time I drive it, it makes me grin. The next step is to get it out on a track to do some laps. It’s all a bit mad but man is it fun.

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It has been said, “No plan survives execution.” I can’t say I’ve ever encountered a situation where this isn’t true. It’s a chaotic and random world we live in and while the big picture plan always seems straightforward, things do get weird at the quantum level. You push for one thing and the universe pushes back. Sometimes pretty hard.

Three weeks ago, I had a job. Which in and of itself is an oversimplification because right now I still have a job just not the way I had before even though it’s still in the same industry etc., etc.

But things are really different.

This is not going too well as an explanation. I’m going to go back to the beginning… Well some of it.

I started out like a lot of young people going right out of school into a job. Further education wasn’t going to happen as I didn’t have the money and frankly, I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be and I didn’t see how spending money I didn’t have was going to change that. So I went into construction as a laborer. I dug ditches, I leveled basements and built forms for foundations. It was hard physical work and for the most part it was seasonal, Spring, Summer and a chunk of Fall. In order to fill the wage gap, I began working in a metal fabrication shop that made fireplace inserts and free standing wood stoves. I started out as a grinder, which sort of morphed into a bunch of different jobs within the company and through need and attrition, I learned how to MIG weld. As we were doing miles of it every day, I got pretty good at it. We were all young guys and the shop foreman was an ex high school shop teacher. I learned a lot. Eventually he moved on and a younger guy took his place. He taught me how to TIG weld.

It’s a weird fact that most of my early career in metal work was focused in a very small area of Langley, BC.

When I moved into doing aseptic welding the company I worked for was small so we were all expected to be multifunctional. In addition to the welding and fitting, I also began to wire control panels, eventually I ended up laying them out as well. This of course led to learning to program industrial SLC and PLC controllers. I had to learn ladder logic and electrical layout. Of course in order to properly program the PLCs you had to understand the processes you were controlling. Process drawings and understanding production process were next. All in all, it was a constant learning curve. It’s still a constant learning curve and it’s provided myself and my family with a decent and steady income because no matter what, people like to eat. The day job has had another cool payoff. I’ve always liked building things and at the end of the day, there is a plant or a machine that exists because of you and your team’s efforts. It’s a concrete entity in a way that my creative work isn’t.

So that sums up the last 25 years or so. I’m leaving out the tragic bits because while they might be part of my definition, they don’t push this narrative forward.

Back to three weeks ago when the company I was working from ceased operations. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t much of a surprise. I’d been through it twice before and the signs had been there. Plus there’d been a lack of chatter. You see on any given day, there’s a general amount of chatter in the upper areas of a company. Usually it’s bitching about productivity or meeting deadlines. It’s the background hum if you like. As long as it’s there, the engine is ticking along. Maybe not well but it’s running. The time to be concerned is when the chatter increases in frequency and intensity, which usually signals a change of some kin. Maybe a big job is being bid on or somebody is going to be leaving (though that has its own set of signals). The other side of the coin is radio silence. All chatter stops. Anybody in ELINT (electronic intelligence) will tell you, this is never a good sign. It means something is in the wind and it isn’t going to be good for whoever is on the receiving end of it and as I previously mentioned, there’d been other signs.

I’m 52 and not looking to going back to square one with another company. I’m lucky in the fact that the second the news got out people started to reach out to me to see what my next move was going to be. The easy thing (somewhat) would be to pick one of them and run with it. I could be in a new office or in the field at the start of the following week. The easy thing.

Instead, I decided to throw my lot in with another member of my previous employer. We created a lean cut down team and he and I purchased the liquidated assets of our former employer.

It was not easy.

It was not without fear.

It certainly wasn’t without substantial financial risk.

But on the upside, we’re the masters of our own destiny – whatever that may be.

I’ll be posting up more on this whole thing down the road and I’ll be mentioning names and places etc. but right now everything is still very fresh and a certain amount of distance needs to be gained before I can write those words.

 

In the meantime, please purchase my books and audiobooks, you’ll be glad you did.

No pics of me on my bike yet. I’m still working my way in on the thing and other than a continuing dedication to hi viz jackets, there’s nothing to see yet. Seeing a 50+ year old guy huff and puff his way up a small hill is far from an inspiring sight. Still, anything on two wheels right? When I get a bit whiny about it in my head, I just think of Guy Martin riding his way down the spine of America on the Tour Divide and I keep cracking on.

Things are getting warmer so I was able to finally ride my bike to work a few days this week. Though I did do a couple of practice runs prior to committing to riding to my day job. On days where I’m not working, like today, I took advantage of the break in the rain to get a ride in anyway. The rain has been a bit of a bonus really as it’s given me a rest day in between rides to let my leg muscles recover a bit. It turns out I had my seat too low by a few inches and that was overworking my thigh muscles. A bit of fiddling around with my seat height and I’ve got a much better riding position going on now (it always helps to talk to others with more experience).

Round trip to and from where I work is 9km. I know that’s not far for you lot who do this on a regular basis but for somebody just getting their body used to a bit more huff and puff than it’s used to, it feels like a good start. Riding in Mississauga on a peddle bike carries a lot of the same risk as doing it on a motorcycle, though I do have the added benefit of being able to take the cycle paths to avoid traffic, which are extensive enough I’m going to have to do some serious exploring to check some of them out.

As with everything, there are adjustments and learning curves. Some require me getting my head around some things I never even considered and others are of a more physical nature.

The bike path I take to work has a fairly consistent elevation rise on the way there. Though there are a few downward grades in places where I can coast and rest a bit. My current guide for what gear I need to be in is my knees. I simply gear down until they stop hurting. The down side to this is I need to peddle faster but as I work my way into it, it does seem to be getting easier and now on my return loop from work my leg muscles do seem to be looser and happier. One of the hardest things to get used to is how high my head is off the ground. On my V-Strom my seat height is about 31″ from the ground.  Seated, this puts my eye level fairly close to where it normally is when I’m walking about, so when I’m riding my motorcycle my position to the ground feels fairly natural.

On my mountain bike my seat is considerably higher . I’d say my eye height is closer to where it would be if I was 6’5″ and that’s taken some mental adjustment on my part. Plus my pedal bike weighs a fraction of my motorcycle and instead of my engine being the center of gravity, my body is. Plus the riding position is slightly forward, which puts me more over the front wheel. It’s an interesting sensation when you’re coasting downhill into a hard turn.

Then there’s the silence of it all, minus the rush of the wind in your ears, which I’ll freely admit, I’m not a fan off. Because of the coolness of season, I’ve been wearing the balaclava I wear on my V-Strom for those cold rides and it does a good job of creating an even flow of air over my ears. Earplugs will definitely be going in once things warm up.

All in all, I’m enjoying riding. I find myself looking forward to it and that’s a good thing. I think when it’s all said and done, I don’t want the bike to be a piece of gear collecting dust in my garage. Like most things with wheels, it deserves better than that.

 

If you enjoyed this blog post. Check out my long form fiction on Amazon or if you prefer to read with your ears, all of my books are available on Audible, with my new book, Devil’s Ante here.

The Lost 4

The Lost 4  – Abandoned Power Station – Belle Isle, Richmond, VA (2010) 

The above picture is one of my favourites. My friend Michael and I came across this abandoned power station as we were exploring Belle Isle in the middle of the James River in Richmond, Virginia. The place was full of teenagers and some of them were jumping off of some upper story windows into the old sluiceway below. They were nervous about the two, “Old guys,” who’d suddenly appeared in their midst but the second they realized we were just checking the place out and not there to cause them any trouble, we became like furniture. I actually think the camera in my hands made me even more invisible.

I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot anything like this since. Mostly because the URBEX locations around the GTA are mostly deserted and Lake Ontario probably lacks the friendly warmth of the James River.

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The Lost 6  – Abandoned Power Station – Belle Isle, Richmond, VA (2010) 

I do wonder about the kids in the shots though from time to time both of the above picture hang in my main floor bathroom and a lot can happen to a person in eight years. I hope they’re all doing well in life and that things are working out for them and that some of them are still jumping off of high windows into water.

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The Lost  – Abandoned Power Station – Belle Isle, Richmond, VA (2010) 

 

You can find out more about me and all of my books here.

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Arsing about…

Eighteen years ago, when I was still living on the West Coast I was involved in working with a lab that was creating a drug to fight Wet Macular Degeneration. I was the guy showing them how to set up a vital piece of lab test equipment called a microfluidizing homogenizer. From start to finish and by finish I mean a drug going to market, the whole process took about four years. My last involvement with the project other than the odd service call was to write up the servicing portion of their FDA submission. I was told that sixty liters of processed product was equal to one million USD. I’ve no idea how many doses 60 Liters represented but it always made me ask the question, “How much is your sight worth?”

Lucky for the majority of Canadians, our healthcare system keeps the bulk of these types of costs down for us. I’m a type 2 Diabetic and the drugs I use to treat my condition are covered fully by my health insurance and by my extended insurance from work. Right now because I’m still new to living with Diabetes I’m trying to find the right balance to live a decent life. My doctor who is a no bullshit woman (and I like that) wasn’t very happy with my last fasting Glucose numbers to put it mildly and she read me the riot act about getting regular exercise.

Now for me, the idea of joining a Gym isn’t appealing but I happen to live very close to my day job (4.4km). Google maps showed me there is a bike path and bike lane that literally take me almost to the front door of my building.

I’d been toying with the idea of buying a bike for a while. My daughter’s friend Cara who is really more of a member of the family is heavily into bikes so I’d been seeking her advice. I’ll be honest, the sticker shock is what held me off the first time. Usually for some of those prices, I’d want the motor to go with the frame. Still, with my Doctor’s rebuke still ringing in my ears I settled in to do real research. The bike style I finally decided on was a Hybrid Mountain Bike. I fully realize I’m currently in no sort of shape to tackle real human powered off road riding but a gravel path or two could certainly be in my future. Plus seeing as my main two wheeled ride is a V-Strom and I’ve ridden Enduro style motorcycles for most of my adult life, it was sort of a done deal as far as what sort of style I’d be settling on.

Last Saturday, I took myself over to Gears Bike Shop in Oakville to look at some bikes in the flesh. Friendly and knowledgeable staff walked me through what choices they had on tap for me to purchase. I even took a bike out into the parking lot for a spin and almost got hit by a cab (what is it with those guys?). The ride was a real experience as I hadn’t been on a bike in over thirty years. To say the fit, finish and technology have come a long way would be putting it mildly. The last bike I rode was a Schwinn 10 speed, the derailer was stuck so it was permanently in 10th.

The bike I purchased is a CUBE Nature Pro 2016 – 30 speed (though I think it’s going to be a while before I see those top ten gears). It’s German built really well put together. It was on sale and I got it for just under $1200 tax included. Twice as much as I paid for my first car.

But then, what’s your life worth?

Today was my first serious ride on it. Turns out a good chunk of the bike path to my work is uphill. My knees hurt until I figured out how to set the gears to keep the pressure more manageable. It was cold and my hands were freezing but the way I see it, as I get fitter, it’ll get easier and hopefully my next blood test results will be better. The silence of the ride was also a bit unnerving but the route will be pretty once things come into bloom.

Spandex though is still right out…

 

Sean Addison is up to his old tricks again in Devil’s Ante available on Amazon or if audiobooks are more your style all of my thrillers can be found through any audiobook retailer.

Technology to me has always been the great leveler.

Not in its inception but in its adaptation. As we have seen, this can lead to good and bad things. Still, it allows me to publish my books worldwide in both written and audio format. It’s allowed film I’ve written to be shot and distributed also worldwide (though limited scope).

I can format my book for any platform including print. I have a complete digital darkroom for turning my photographs into something worth sharing or at the very least leaving a memory for my friends and I in its best possible looking format. I also have a very powerful editing suite of tools at my disposal for creating video with some impact (more on this in a bit).

The programs I use in my day job allow me to build and test machine components for fit and stress before a single piece of metal is cut or welded into its final form and then do a cost analysis on that machine. Technology allows me to hand write notes that are then dated and stored for later viewing. I can take a 3D pdf model out to the production floor and show the person building the thing I designed, exactly what I am talking about.

Power.

The real thing, not a concept.

Still, for all of my work in the virtual, there is great satisfaction in doing things in the real. In fact the only reason I’m successful in the virtual is because I’ve spent many years doing things in the real world with the tools at hand and the sweat of my brow. There is great satisfaction in that. Knowing that when you talk about certain things, you come at it from a point of experience and past effort, not one of theory.

Which brings me to the bit about video.

I’ve been shooting on a Canon DSLR for about 14 years. Before that I shot on SLR Cameras and 35 photographic film. One of my feature films was shot digitally the other on Super 16mm. DSLR Cameras have come a long way since then.

Hell we shot my first short The Provider on Beta.

Compare that to my own efforts shooting my flight in a Lancaster Bomber and recently a PB5Y Canso.

The Lancaster was shot with a Canon 7D and a Sony action cam and the Canso footage was shot with a Canon 7D Mk2 and the same Sony action cam with some fill in footage from a Canon T2i.

Ironically though the video on my YouTube Channel with the most views is of the Fairey Firefly at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum folding its wings. Which I thought was strange until I recently learned it’s the only flying example of the aircraft left in the world. So now it sits at just over 64K views, which is cool because as a lifetime member of the CWHM, I really want to promote the museum and the great work they do there.

But it’s also got me thinking about adding a vlog component to this blog as well. Which I think is really more about me getting off my arse and adding more content on a more regular basis than I have been. It’ll also give me an excuse to get out to the CWHM and shoot some cool aircraft running up and flying over. After all, what’s the good of having a 500mm lens if you don’t get to use it.

Something else I discovered today is that a lot of the cooling issues we used to have with the sensors on DSLRS in video mode have been fairly sorted. So before when you could expect to get ten minutes of video before an overheated sensor would crop up, now you can get over an hour. Which is good news for me (though I sense a few 2TB portable drives in my future).

I’ll still be writing on the blog of course but I’ve got a few things I’d like to cover in a vlog including what it takes to put out an audiobook (or three).

You can find all of my books on Amazon and Audible.

devilsanti1

Better late than never. Audio production took a little longer than expected on Devil’s Ante, the sequel to Devil’s Gambit but it was worth it. Edward James Beesley did a fantastic job as always on the project and I’m lucky to have him involved. This is my third audiobook offering and I’m still learning the ins and outs of the format.

You can find the Audiobook at:

Audible

Audiobooks.com

Nook Audiobooks

Downpour

eStories

Librio FM

It’s also live with iBooks, Playster, 3M/Bibliotheca, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive!

So help a brother out and give it a listen and if you like what you hear, Buy it! And please, leave a review. Nothing can live in a vacuum and reviews are the air that keeps an author’s work alive.

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