Ah! Skydiving! It was high on my list of potential hobbies, until I actually tried it. A few years ago, one of our dear readers invited me to a tandem jump (hi Charlie!). That’s one of the perks of drawing a comic in this particular niche, I suppose.
Don’t get me wrong, it was AWESOME. The rush of jumping out of the plane, the free fall, the goofing around with the other skydivers … it’s hard to describe the feeling, and I can imagine it must be so much cooler still when you’re not strapped with your butt to some other dude’s crotch.
But when the chute opened, things took a turn for the worse. At first it was nice to cruise along and watch the landscape from above. But soon, I started to feel motion sickness. What can I say, it’s something I have dealt with all my life, and one of the reasons why I’m not a mariner or aviator. I barely made it to the ground without puking. And the last minute or two were sheer torture.
That’s not to say that I don’t want to try it again some day. Many things deserve a second shot. But, although I know it’s rather safe, as long as you do everything right, now that I’m a father, I have decided to postpone it until further notice. I’ve never been an adrenaline junkie, but now I’m even more risk averse than before. Or maybe that’s just a sign that I’m getting old, haha!
This classic strip idea came from back when I was still very actively working as an airplane mechanic at a little flight school. We were working on all kinds of planes of all shapes and sizes and also had a lot of “squawks” from students that turned out not to be a problem with the aircraft at all (for example, the transponder rarely transmits a return in the “OFF” mode). In the midst of all this small flight school madness I had students and instructors alike stop by on their way back from the flight line (the hangar happened to be between the ramp and the office) and just verbally tell me what they had found wrong on their plane that day. It was convenient for them and who wants to ground the airplane for something that might not turn out to be a big deal, right?! But guess how much of that I remembered if 12 people told me something about 5 different planes all while doing 2 different inspections on 2 more planes?
The other guys and I actually got in the habit of just responding with “Huh! That’s interesting” to every one of the squawks and concentrated on the ones that were written down and came to us through a work order. It was the only way to keep us on track without getting pulled into a hundred different directions. Also, it worked in our favor if something didn’t get fixed and the pilots complained. We asked them “Well, did you write it down?” and they said “No, but you said you’ll take a look” or “you said you’ll fix it”. Then we could say “Did I really say that? Or did I just say – Huh! That’s interesting” ? HAHA
Let me start out with wishing all of you a HAPPY 2017! Turning over a new leaf is always exciting! May 2017 bring you great times and adventures! I’ve been very busy in the last couple of days so I didn’t get to blog quite as much. Luckily my brother can take over these duties. We both appreciate everybody tuning in every week and all of your comments / ideas / stories. Please keep them coming!
Before you say Chuck should already know all the parts of an engine, which he probably does, I want to add that today’s strip mainly describes a feeling. It’s that feeling you get (and it happens a lot in aviation but I bet a lot of you working other jobs will be familiar with it as well) when somebody who has no idea what you are doing decides to take it upon himself to help out. It is usually totally unsolicited and most of the time more annoying than helpful. Then you fix what you were working on and they take a lot of credit for helping even though they had nothing to do with the outcome. Most of those individuals seem to also be the “Have you tried turning it off and then back on again?” type of guys as well I have found.
Has this happened to you before?
For the longest time, it was part of my wife and I’s daily routine to watch the evening news together. That tradition came to an abrupt halt, when son #1 stopped taking a nap at noon and started going to bed earlier. So now, we bring the two rascals to bed at around that time, and my TV consumption dropped to approximately 1h a month, if that. I can’t say I miss it! I have to get my news elsewhere, but nowadays, when you can read any online newspaper on your smartphone, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
A few years back, when somebody told me they don’t even own a TV, I was wondering how that is even possible. Now I find myself looking for internet deals where I don’t have to pay for cable, since I don’t use it anyway. Alas, there are no options where passing on cable makes a real difference.
Here’s another dusty old comic strip for you! I guess it explains the reason why everything has to be written down and documented in triplicate when it comes to aircraft maintenance. It also reminds me of elementary school, when we were playing “telephone”. Who says you don’t learn stuff that is useful for real life in school? I see that technique used in practice very often!
This part of your typical bomb disarming movie scene is as essential as the part where the countdown stops at 00:00:01. It’s actually one of the tropes that kinda annoys me. Nothing against tropes, stereotypes, archetypes, etc. in movies. They usually became so stereotypical because they work!
Screen writers like to top something and then top it even more, in order to turn on our emotional screws, But for me there’s a certain point when you can take that topping too far. Then I go “this is not just unrealistic, this is ridiculous” and I snap out of my state of suspended disbelief that I need to enjoy a movie. And letting the countdown go to 00:00:01 does that for me.
Do you also have a certain thing that destroys movies for you?
It is time for another classic comic again. This particular one rounded out or first book which is now well over 10 years ago. The idea came when I was working on getting an old Cessna Skymaster through its annual inspection which hadn’t been flown in over a year and seemed to have a rat problem. What all I found in there after taking off the floor panels was pretty gross to say the least. I’ll spare you guys the details. It would have been nice to just have a cat take care of everything. Or would it? …
Also, I hope some of you were able to go to AERO in Friedrichshafen this week. It’s a very cool show which I am bummed to miss. But Stefan is there! Say Hello to him at the “Fliegermagazin” booth (A5-325) at 3pm today if you guys are in the area.
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Reddit. But those of you who are, probably already stumbled across “Tales From Tech Support” or “Tales From Retail“. I really think Julio has it easy compared to what some poor people working in tech support or retail have to deal with all day. My favorite call of all time probably is the guy who can’t see the difference between 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents. I think it’s way longer in the original, but I found a clip on Youtube here. Although in this case, it’s the support guy who’s the moron. If I remember correctly, it starts out with a disgruntled customer who has been quoted 0.002 cents per MB of data used and was then charged 0.002 dollars.
Does anybody have any stories to share in that regard? I know that in aviation, you have to deal with a whole zoo of customers too.
And I can hardly believe it’s already Friday again! I totally spaced out there, drawing a very complicated custom cartoon for my favorite airline, and almost forgot to upload todays strip.
But, fortunately, I remembered, so here you go with today’s installment of Chuck’s adventures. Maybe somebody should better call an ambulance instead? As we can see in this comic, it’s easy to get injured in your workplace, so please be safe out there!
Have a great weekend everybody!
I think you don’t have to be an aircraft mechanic to sympathize with Julio in this strip. I think everybody had to open something in their lives, some kind of gear, device, or only just some packaging, where they had to go through half the toolbox to eventually succeed. I, for one, sometimes wonder why they don’t make bank vaults out of the same material and design that some clam shell packaging is made of!