Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dangerous Creature

Alyssa and I had a long conversation last night, and curiously, she was very supportive of my decision to cancel my trip to Paris and instead get my helicopter pilot license. I was a bit surprised, I imagined she would worried of being by herself in a city where she does not speak the language and knows very few people.

But now I'm getting really worried after I found these photos on the helicopter flight school website. After all, I might go to Paris rather than risking clipping my rotor with this dangerous creature.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My New Sikorsky Helicopter

I found this really cool (real) helicopter on sale on eBay. Very cheap, nice orange paint, Russian made Sikorsky (just a little bit too large to fit in my garage). The Russian guy who was selling it was super nice, so I bought it with "Buy it Now", and I'll use it to practice my real helicopter piloting skills (tired of flying that toy). It should not be that hard, since I already have my glider and private airplane pilot licence, plus a hang-gliding qualification (validated by a broken arm). So I enrolled in this crash-course for helicopter piloting at the Concord airport flight school, for the next two to three weeks. Unfortunately I had to cancel my Christmas trip to Paris, but I figured I have better chances to survive helicopter flight training than travelling with Alyssa :)

Tiny remote controled helicopters

A couple of days ago I was at a party where a couples a geeky guys were playing with tiny remote-controled helicopters toys. They were a few inches in diameter, extremely light and almost silent (powered by batteries). Although extremely hard to control due to their small size and their lack of inertia because of their extremely light weight, they were a lot of fun to play with, so I decided to get one! I followed the advice of one of the guys and got a dual-rotor model, which is more stable and easier to control than the single rotor design.
After a few hours of playing with the toy and crashing in counteless times, I'm now able to do (almost) controled flights around the rooms in my apartment, and even fly the chopper from room to room. What's really amazing is that they were able to build such a complex machine with a very simple and very light design, and make it extremely robust (it survives the hardest crashes). The rechargeable battery allows flights up to about 5 minutes. The three brushless electrical engines powering the chopper are extremely small yet very powerful and very efficient. Amazing technology, worth the $50 or so (i think you can get it for less on-line).

Friday, December 7, 2007

Far Away

Sometimes I just want to fly far away...

Hot-Spring Adventure with Alyssa and Miloh

A couple of weeks ago I went to a secret hot-spring with my friend Alyssa and her friend Miloh, and we all had a great time there. The hot-spring is located not far from San Francisco, at the bottom of a cliff near the ocean. In fact the spring is under sea water most of the time, and it can be used only a few days each month when the tide is very low. We arrived there after sunset, and hiked down the dangerous trail at night. All the conditions were excellent. There were relatily few people in the hot pool (much less than on this photo) maybe less than a dozen, so we had ample room, there was a full moon, excellent weather, not too cold, a calm sea, and the sulfur-smelling spring water was ideal temperature, like a warm bath. So we all got naked and slide in the rocky pool. Alyssa was a "virgin", she had never been in a hot-spring before, and she liked it a lot. We explored the back of the pool, an area in a small and complely dark cave that can be reached by sliding through a narrow passage in the water. After soaking for a while and performing a relaxing "Aum" with everyone, Alyssa, Miloh and I decided to hike a bit on the wet sand along the coast, naked under the full moon, towards a large beach nearby. It was one of those unforgettable moments, so beautiful and rare. We found a few other pools of warm water in the wet sand, from other small hot-springs in the vincinity of the main one. When stepping in one of those pools we found quick sand! That was scary! We then hiked back to the hot-spring, but the tide had gone up so we had to waddle a bit into freezing cold ocean water on our way back. It was a bit hard to find our way back to the spring among all those enormous dark rocks that all look alike. Getting back into the warm pool was so nice. We stayed there a bit, sipping the Chartreuse liquor that I brought and Alyssa got a foot massage (actually, several) from a guy called Scott who also asked her several times if she would consider marrying him and giving him a child, which she politely declined. We chatted with the other folks in the pool, like this older guy called grey wolf, all very nice people. Then the ocean surf started to crash close from the hot pool, so we dressed-up, hiked up the steep trail and headed back to the city while a few people were still enjoying the last few minutes of hot water before the spring got swallowed by the ocean again. Only the next day we noticed all the cuts, scratches and bruises that we got from the slippery and scratchy rocks. That was an unforgettable night, and the best time I had in this hot-spring, since I'd been there a couple of times before.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Note about some postings removed

I removed from public view the postings about Alyssa after she told me that although my postings were nice, they made her feel a little uncomfortable, like being very exposed and watched with a microscope.