Contact me at starfightersmodelblog(at)mindspring(dot)com

Airplanes, Rocketry, Missiles, Spacecraft and things that go WHOOSH! in the night.
What's flying around my head at the current time.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

If I Were an Elf King, Pt II 



If I were a character in The Return of the King, I would be Elrond, an Elf and ruler of Rivendell and father of Arwen.

In the movie, I am played by Hugo Weaving.

Who would you be?
The Return of the King Test with Perseus Web Survey Software

"If I were an Elf King..." 



If I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Elrond, Elf, ruler of Rivendell and father of Arwen.

In the movie, I am played by Hugo Weaving.

Who would you be?
Zovakware Lord of the Rings Test with Perseus Web Survey Software

I'm also Irish 

You're Ireland!

Mystical and rain-soaked, you remain mysterious to many people, and this
makes you intriguing.  You also like a good night at the pub, though many are just as
worried that you will blow up the pub as drink your beverage of choice.  You're good
with words, remarkably lucky, and know and enjoy at least fifteen ways of eating a potato.
 You really don't like snakes.

Take the Country Quiz at
the Blue Pyramid

I, Robot 

You're I, Robot!

by Isaac Asimov

While you have established a code of conduct for many generations to
follow, your demeanor is rather cold and calculating. Brought up to serve humans, you
have promised never to harm them, to follow orders, and to protect yourself. Living up
to this code has proved challenging and sometimes even drives you mad. If you were a
type of paper, you would be pulp.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Southern Born, Southern Bred. 

96% (Dixie). Is General Lee your father?

Yankee or Dixie quiz

That's not a Moon, Its a Space Station! 

As Dusty from Twister might say. Most of the proposals I see for Air Tankers are for small, maneuverable "initial attack" planes that could be based nearer to the fire-prone areas. This on the other hand will be a MONSTER. Imagine a 747 coming in low and slow and dumping 24,000 Gallons of retardant. Current large tankers carry 2,000-3,000 gallons. The mind boggles. Evergreen Supertanker

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Here's an Idea; Build my own computer! 

I got back on to my latest build-it-yourself computer today. It's nowhere near cutting edge (AMD Athlon 850 CPU), but the price was right for the systemboard and processor. I had it sitting half-finished under my old (AMD K6 overclocked to 335mhz) system for several months, and since I had a day off today, I decided to finish it up. Pulled the old Packard Bell monitor from the 486sx-25 upstairs in the spare room, installed the 80 gig Western Digital drive I bought for it six months ago. Installed the CD-ROM and was ready to go


Started to install Windows 2000 pro, but it would never format the drive, kept giving me "unformatted or damaged" for all the partitions. also was taking a long time to create the partitions. Tried this for a couple of hours. Ok, pulled out my Win98SE boot diskette and tried to fdisk the drive. Got the "Read error on drive" error. Made dinner and went to Micro Center got a new 80 gig Samsung. Put it in and was able to install Win2K. Then loaded the driivers for the nVidia GeForce2 MX400 I originally put in it and rebooted.

Got a series of vertical lines on the monitor. Had to reboot Win2K and go into VGA mode to see the anything, was working ok, just would not work in any other mode. Deleted and reinstalled several times. Swapped monitors and got the same thing.


I guess I'll have to make another trip to Micro Center tomorrow for a new video card. That's $100+ of worthless components.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

MISSION: IMPOOCHIBLE, Part II (Reporter Smuggles 'Dog Fight Bait' Puppy Out of Afghanistan) 

A heart warming story for people who are just a bit dotty about dogs. Be sure to follow the link to "Mission Impoochible I"
MISSION: IMPOOCHIBLE, Part II (Reporter Smuggles 'Dog Fight Bait' Puppy Out of Afghanistan)

Monday, February 09, 2004

3-D cockpit tours from NASM 

Virtual cockpits tours of some of the aircraft now in the new Air and Space Museum Annex . These are the first of nearly 100 aircraft that were shot as they were moved in for display. Major Cool.
UHC QTVR Artifacts

Sunday, February 08, 2004

A Blast from the Past 

At AAA Hobbies for my weekly styrene fix today. In the corner shelf where the Snap-tites were kept, I spotted a stack of smallish blue boxes. They were a series of kits from Testors called "Easy-Builders." I took a look and they were reissues of old Hawk kits from the 60's: four WWII aircraft in 1/72: Zero, Bf-109, Spitfire 24, and SBD Dauntless; four WWII-ships US Navy Destroyer (looks like a Fletcher from the cover art), US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC Bibb) US Navy LST (Landing Ship Tank, LST 493 per the decal) and a US Navy PT Boat (PT-109 per the box art). The ships are around 1/600 scale: Cutter is 1/600, LST- 1/613, DD-1/582. The PT is different at 1/200. The box art, while action-filled, is rather crude, and nowhere near as nice as the original. The kits are molded in the same semi-translucent white plastic I remember. They even still have their original 1960's copyrights embossed in the molds. The series also include 4-1/32 scale Bonneville salt flat racers. They are all not bad little kits, and pretty good representations of the subjects and are down in what now is considered the "kid's pocket money" price range at $4.00 each. Of course, I have a couple of the original plane kits in my collection- original retail price was 39 cents! I did pick up the LST and the Cutter. The Bibb survived the war and lasted long enough to get the Peacetime Coast Guard paint scheme of white with a red and a blue stripe.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Damn!, The Canadians got there first 

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Friday, February 06, 2004

Flight Risks 

the friday five

1. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?
Go on an aerobatic flight in a World War II-era training plane

2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would never approve of?
Fly mock air combat in real airplanes, fly on the shuttle

3. On a scale of 1-10, what's your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it's a lifestyle)

4. What's the best thing that's ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky?
The 20 minutes I actually got to FLY an airplane during #1 above

5. ... and what's the worst?
Got a speeding ticket

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Confirmed as "Human" 

You're a Human!
You're a Human! Inquisitive and mellow, you're an
explorer at heart.

What Star Trek Race Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

There's a Program That Leads a Life of Danger.... 

I've just cleared a major hassle with my computer that was surprisingly easy to fix. Around Christmas time, I downloaded the latest version of the seasonal game "Super Elf Bowling." It didn't run very well, so I deleted it and forgot about it. A little later, I needed to find some files, and tried to go into Windows Explorer to look fo them. I got a "buffer overflow" error in the C++ Runtime library and I had to reboot to get the machine back. Happened every time i tried to go to Windows Explorer, Control Panel, or even IE. Same error. Everything else worked fine.

I looked for info on the error the MicroSlop Knowledgebase. MS has stopped supporting Win98SE, so it was a bit of a search. I saw a lot of stuff about downloading and applying several patches to close a vulnerability that this error allowed, but couldn't get into my Explorer, nothing gave me any info on fixing it. I even got the error trying to browse my Win98SE CD to try a reinstall. I thought about increasing the buffers in my msconfig, but couln't find wher to make the change, as Autoexec.bat and config.sys didn't have any "buffers=" lines.

I Googled the error and several posts mentioned deleteing something called Hotbar (which I didn't have) and that some spyware was trying to exploit the overflow. On a whim, I downloaded the latest version of AdAware and scanned my hard drives. AdAware found 18 suspect components ( Files and registry Tags) and I deleted them. Lo and behold, I was able to get into IE. I tried Windows Explorer and it worked too! Huzzah! I then updateed the spyware definitions and re-ran and found 7 more they were deleted, and I have had no more problems.

I did have to delete the file assosciations for gif and jpegs and reinitialize them, but everything's both hunky and dory.

I highly recommend AdAware and it's FREE! Come out of the cold, and "terminate" spyware with "extreme predjudice". This is as important as keeping your antivirus up to date.

I've Been reading yours for a while. 

Just a call-out to my sister

Sunday, February 01, 2004

There Was a Football Game Today? 

As the title above implies, I'm not much of a sports fan. I don't live under a rock, so I'm aware that the S(t)uper Bowl was played this evening. Neither Linda nor I care much who won. Actually, I hope it ended in a 2-2 tie and they both looked bad doing it.

We spent the evening watching our favorite episodes of FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON. We started with SPIDER (Apollo 9), went to IS THAT ALL THERE IS (Apollo 12), CAN WE DO THIS (Mercury & Gemini) and finished with LA VOYAGE DANS LE LUNE (Apollo 17). The final sequence where they show aerial (?) views of each of the landing sites always bring tears to my eyes.

It makes me so mad that the politicians pissed all that we did away. We had the technology working, and we were getting good at what we were doing up there. If we had kept up, there's no telling where we'd be. Now, we have to practically start from scratch.

I never mentioned several of the notable models I saw yesterday. A friend of mine from Warner Robins came up and had two humorous models. The first was an M3 Grant tank hull with a giant brain grafted on top. A fountain penr replaced the barrel, the hull was covered with scientific and mathematic graffiti, and had a pair of thick glasses (Bridge broken and repaired with tape) on the front glacis. It was, of course, a "Think Tank". The other was a 40's era panel van chopped, channeled and grafted into a roll of toilet tissue- a "TP Cruiser".

There was a well done figure of Boris Karloff sitting in a make-up chair having the Frankenstein's Monster makeup done. Another had Ed Harris in with an ABYSS alien which had blinking LEDs on the inside. A junior modeller (a girl, IIRC) entered a pair of "Ensign Darwin" kits leaping out of the water side by side. I think she won "Best Junior". There was a nicely done scratchbuild of the canonical S.S. Enterprise (NX-01). Best of show I mentioned last night. There were tons of car models, but I just glanced at them. Cars are just not my thing.

I also had a taste of women feel whenn they arrive at a party to see someone else wearing the exact same outfit. I had entered a 1/72 scale F-4E in Israeli Air Force markings. I had chosen to model ac #209 of the"Hammers" squadron. I returned later to find that someone else had done the exact same model. And, his was better than mine. Figure the odds.

One with the Collective 

Where to start. I intend in the future to talk about things that I think are interesting, and the topic may very widely from time to time. As a way of introduction, I'm in my late 40's, live near Atlanta, Georgia, and currently work as a level 1 tech support agent for a company called Career Connections, Inc., supporting IBM x-Series servers. I'm married (See my wife Linda's blog linked stage right), and own a mixed-breed terrier who considers me her Daddy. for hobbies, I build scale models, mostly aircraft but also delving into SF, ships, Real Space, and some armor. I also fly low-power Model Rockets and like to shoot pistols and military-style rifles. I read Science Fiction (Mostly hard /military SF) My favorite author is Robert H. Heinlein, but I also like David Weber, Spider Robinson, Eric Flint, and John Ringo.

Politically, I am a small 'L' libertarian. I see a half glass of water as exactly that, neither half empty no half full, and I tend to view life through a somewhat cracked pair of rose-coloured Glasses.

Today I attended the IPMS Region 3 convention. It was jointly hosted by my chapter, IPMS Marietta along with the other two chapters in the Atlanta area. This is our tune up for the 2005 Nationals, and it went well. 300 entrants entered 1165 models. This attendance broke all records for a regional convention. I entered 9 models, but it was more for "showing the flag", as I do not build for competition.

The Best of Show was a Sci-Fi Armored Vehicle that the modeler had designed using CAD-CAM software and printed the parts out on a 3-d printer tht builds the pieces by spraying a fine line of melted plastic and building layers. Really cool job that was illustrated with pictures taken of the project as it progressed.

Lots of vendors, but not much jumped out and screamed "BUY ME!" I picked up 3 kits; a 1/72 scale Mirage IIIC w/ Israeli and Argentinian Markings, a 1/72nd scale Red Baron RB-51 air racer, and a 1/72nd scale model of the Blossom sounding rocket (a post-war US V-2 variant). I also picked up a decal sheet of Israeli Air Force squadron badges, and a couple of prints, one of a Spitfire, one of a Hurricane, both Battle of Britain.

The neatest thing was a tool, rather a set of tools. These were a set of small bar clamps that can be used to hold model parts together during assembly. They consisted of a carbon-fibre rod with two polycarbonate arms that had silicone pads on the ends. The can be configured in multiple ways to clamp,. inside, outside, on odd angles or to act as a "helping hand". The soft pads grip without marring the clamped surface and they apply even force to the parts being clamped together. the rods can also be mounted in a block of wood or exctended with a set of provided connectors. Really cool. They're made by a company called Berna and were being sold by a dealer who came to Atlanta from southern France. Gave a very compelling sales pitch, let me tell you!

Hopefully, in the future, I'll be able to post some pictures.

Tap, Tap, Tap. Is this thing on? Testing, testing, 1,2,3.

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