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Tonight was about expressions.  Some were obvious but others more subtle.  A longtime friend came over to help Tammy with some things for a project so I took the opportunity to cook.  Cooking has always been part of a my love language, something that came from my family.

I found a recipe online that used up some freezer food and that sent me to the store for more goodies.  When done, everyone raved and even I took the time to thank myself.  Mission accomplished.

The way we express our love, approval, discontent and even frustration is something that’s different from person to person.  Shelves of books and hours of recordings are devoted to the psychology behind how we express our emotions.  I’ve discovered in my life and relationships, there’s no one consistent way I express approval.  Vexing me for years, I’ve tried to uncover standards and practices but finding it past my grasp.  I’m willing to give up the chase and trade it for moments of being present.

Sometimes success is simply showing up and when it comes to relationships, add ‘being present’ to the list.  Tonight while cooking a meal, it became obvious that being present was key.  With my wife working late with our friend, the simple act of making dinner demonstrated much more than a chance to eat.  I caught myself looking across the bowls of shrimp gumbo, smiling inwardly, knowing the expression was successful.


Distractions are everywhere. Yesterday it was cancelled flights, new airports, missed meetings and a stranded car. Today it will be work itself – rearranging things on a list to catch up from time missed. Add to that the expense reports, airline credit forms and chasing small details and I can already feel the day getting away from me. Have I had too much coffee? Yes.

Managing the distractions to maintain focus is always the goal. I’m a dreamer and struggle with the focus every day. I have to create and maintain the vision of my outcome to keep me energized through the day – most of the time it’s easy. Using an analogy works for me because it’s a way to re-frame the circumstances into something I can see will be successful. Take a look at this simple explanation published in The Psychological Record, written by Michael Boerger and Tracy Henley:

By drawing attention to similarities between some new piece of information and information that has been stored previously, they provide a framework for recognizing and understanding the new information more easily.

Changing and aligning a framework is a skill leaders develop over time.  I’ve done this for several years in a wide range of contexts and it does provide that simple positive result.  People accept and implement change when they have a framework that’s compatible with their method to learn and grow.

I manage my distractions in the same way a driver navigates heavy traffic on the highway:  analyze risk and compare to goals, then take action and repeat.  How do you manage your distractions?

Being Vulnerable

I know where my sensitive spots are. I protect them more people realize and that plan has worked well for years. I recently had a mentor ask me if I had considered being more vulnerable to others and struck me as odd. I have a view of my emotional persona that says I’m already that way. I’ve also had people tell me I’m driven, focused and intense. Does this put up a barrier for others to discover the ‘me’ that lies beneath the casual conversations?

There is only one person to which I am completely vulnerable and that’s my wife. We’ve worked hard to build the safe spaces in our relationship to allow for hard conversations. So far a it’s paid off many times over. I’ll keep working hard to make sure it always does.


Sitting in a hotel lobby affords another chance to watch people. To my right is a person watching the Star Wars teaser trailer. He speaks English with a thick accent but his native tongue sounds almost melodic. What’s not lost in his words is the joy of watching those characters come to life. He shares a culture touch point with millions around the world. I find myself smiling too, reaching for my phone to watch the same thing. My fortunate timing in the hotel lobby helped but a smile on my face.


I travel a lot and see a large part of the United States. I’ve learned that people, for the most part, are kind and polite. Don’t believe everything you see on TV or read online because the good out there is working looking for. On this trip, I’ve watched people give up good seats on a plane to help a mother with a sleeping baby. A young person stopped to help someone older navigate the confusing airport concourse. Everyone smiled at the cute puppy brought on board to help someone cope with a stressful trip. Best of all, my sendoff from Branson was a gaggle of workers stopping to wave goodbye with genuine smiles.

The good in us all is on display every day. Don’t be afraid to look for it, encourage it and return the example.

Small stemmed glass on the left foreground with a roaring fire behind

What does 2019 mean for me?

It’s been two years since I’ve written here. Part of me thinks that’s kind of sad, but that’s easy to dismiss. I’ve been going through some of my old weblog posts from the Radio UserLand days and it’s hard to pinpoint what changed.

I’ve been through a transition in the last two years. My job has changed enough to barely be the same. The company I work for is in the middle of a ‘down to the studs’ remodel and that’s healthy. I’d say that I’m in the same situation. It’s time to remodel.

The blog will never go away – it’s too much of a part of me to do that – but isn’t 2019 a time to revist the long form of writing? Something that isn’t a soundbite for Facebook or a passing picture for Instagram?

I reinstalled NetNewsWire for the first time in years on a Mac that was left for dead. 2019 is feeling a lot like 2003 and maybe that’s a good thing.

Lonely weblog gets new post

I don’t write here much, and there’s probably good reasons for it.  I spend time on Twitter (@stevekirks) and on the web forums for PilotEdge so this space get neglected.  I’m still working for CenturyLink doing basically the same thing I’ve done for years: help people understand the technology they have and then help them understand the technology they need.

I keep thinking that this site is for personal items or longform writing, neither of which I’ve been motivated to write.  Mostly it’s time–I like to write something of quality and not a blurb or comment–so that leaves me at a crossroads.  I spend all day on a computer for work, then some evenings on the flight simulator, practicing or flying for fun, so writing seems like the furthest thing from my mind.

Quick Notes about my WorldFlight 2013 Experiences

Here’s some quick notes about my experience flying some of the legs from this year’s WorldFlight on VATSIM:

Flying the 777 during high traffic events:

Man, this plane is amazing!  FMC programming was a breeze and takeoff/landing was relatively straightforward.  I had some issues landing at some airports due to my scenery files were not updated but the FMC navigation data was.  One of the flights had the ILS localizer about 100 feet to the left of the scenery’s runway.  A quick dance to disengage the autopilot and a slide to the right and all was well.

Knowing how to program a HOLD at a fix in the FMC:

I was quickly able to program a random, non-published hold in the FMC while on approach.  That was mainly due to reading the manual and having it open while working the sim.  I got about 5 minutes warning before reaching the fix:

“FedEx 4345, a delay is required.  Hold at fix TUBBY, one minute circuits, left hand turns, maintain flight level 350”

That was reasonable simple, but I had never done it and it was nerve-racking for sure.  Luckily it was one circuit so within a 5 minute span of time, I programmed the hold, completed the circuit and exited the hold, with aircraft in front and behind me.

Tips for flying in events:

  1. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know how to do something or declare unable.  It’s more important to say what you can/can’t do so controllers know how to handle your flight.
  2. Don’t trust the FMC and autopilot to fly the plane.  When you’re in a densely populated area of air traffic, set the heading and speed as “fixed” and wait for the controller to tell you direction.  Most of all, it’s up to you to slow the plane for the arrival and landing UNLESS given speed restrictions.
  3. Make sure you understand engine de-rates an climb thrust for your airplane.  On two separate takeoffs, I used assumed info when programming the flight and that left me woefully underpowered for the climb out.  A quick trip to the FMC to program an override was my solution.  Others were not so lucky.

ATC Coverage:

The WorldFlight ATC team was great and worked very hard to keep everyone on track, inbound and outbound.  I’ve got some ideas about helping these guys out for next year, but I’ll save that for a future post.