I had been to Red's a few times to see some of DJ Jocelyn's shows. Red had apparently done some major redecorating since the last time I was there; there seems to be alot of that going around. I made a quick call to Isobela to make sure she knew of the time change and went and found a table. I thought it would be nice to sit and listen to Friendly Fire for a change, but as soon as Iso showed up she grabbed me by the ear and drug me out to the mosh pit.
Ajay, Willa, Rosinante, Misprint, Argus, Moard and BEARinthe Morning were there. I need to find a way to listen to BEAR in the morning; I can't reach his stream directly from work but there should be a way to bounce around that. Many of Red's regulars and employees were also there adding to the celebration.
About halfway through there was some sort of emergency in the area and we had to leave. I was expecting us to be turned away for 15 minutes or more as they sorted things out but was able to get back after only a few minutes. I called Mack to let her know the place was open again and she asked me to send out a group notice letting everyone else know. I even remembered to include the directions when I sent it!
The interruption was a drag, it took a while for all of the people to come back. Case and Mack sang Santa Claus is Coming to Town and that cheered everyone up. Moard was being Moard and that kept everyone in stitches. Friendly Fire picked up where they left off and we all enjoyed their amazing music.
After the show and after-gig chat I went out shopping again. When Isobela and I had been checking out the golf course the day before a helicopter had flown over and we thought it looked like fun. In my searches for a sailboat I had seen references to some ultra-light aircraft and thought that they would be even more fun.
I bought a small, red, 2-seat ultra-light. One of the best things about it is that it folds up very small; it can even fit in your pocket. The first time that I took off I used the bridge between TNW East and TNW West and a runway. With a little practice I was able to take-off almost vertically as long as I was pointing into a decent wind and took the power all the way up before letting go of the brakes.
I got the feel of launching and flying it before I asked Isobela if she wanted a ride. She was able to fit me in to her schedule, so we headed out to Holly Kai Three to fly around the area we had been sailing in.
Betty Page Beach made a good place to take off from; the sand was packed firm. We didn't crash much; came up a little short trying to land on top of the Starboards Yacht Club the first time and kissed the water a couple of other times. Nothing a little duct-tape couldn't fix.
We had a good time flying around. The ultra-light doesn't go very fast compared to other planes, but I could get it down to just a couple of meters above the water and we would zip past the fastest speedboats at their eye-level! I also took us up into the clouds where everything around us was just white; very spooky. We saw the Trudeau Classic Sailing Yacht yard, the golf course, some cool waterfalls that I flew us through the spray of, an island with dinosaurs and giant stone Moai on it, Starboard's Yacht Club where we eventually were able to land for a short break, and we even made our way to Hollywood!
After our break Isobela tried to get in to the pilot's seat so she could have a turn at flying, but we just couldn't get the seat adjusted correctly for her. I had wanted to be a passenger too so I could relax, take better pictures and heckle the pilot. Payback is hell.
After putting away the ultra-light we headed over to an airfield that offered test-flights for some of their helicopters. They are hard to control if you're not used to flying so Isobela decided to try flying a beginner’s jet aircraft they called the Silver Bullet, very different than my little ultra-light.
Isobela did very well as a pilot. Personally I would have tried for a longer take-off roll, but I guess standing the jet on its tail and letting ground-effect push you into the sky is a valid take-off option also. Once in the air she took us all over the place; the Silver Bullet is fast! We flew over apartment complexes, shopping malls, forests, oceans, continents, and they were all mostly a blur.
Both of us are having similar problems with the first rule of piloting: your number of take-offs should equal your number of landings. We were always able to walk away once we reached the ground though, and boy did we have a blast! Iso really liked flying, and talked about getting a good plane of her own.
We briefly considered a sea plane, but the first place we went to that had advertised them didn't have any in stock. They had all sorts of other neat stuff, though, and of course we had to check them out. There was a high-end 10-passenger Lear jet that we pushed and shoved each other trying to be the first one to sit in the pilot's seat of, some single-person ultra-lights, many helicopters and even some small, remote-controlled model aircraft.
By then it had gotten very late and I had to leave. Iso was going to keep shopping, and I'm almost afraid to think about what she might have bought. If she did get something I bet it's very fast. I need to go to see the kid perform in the school band's Christmas performance Thursday night; so I might miss Both of the Friendly Fire shows! Hopefully Isobela can take some pictures for me.