Category: Personal

All too short a date


Eno Quarry at sunset
The view at sunset

Today was a good day. My wife and I have been talking about how I can learn from my experiences in the corporate world to better manage my time, other people’s time, and my overarching priorities. My life is richer for working in futsal and soccer in my off-hours, but in order for the endeavor to grow, I need to grow with it. Today we also talked about what I’ve learned from flying airplanes: the importance of meticulous planning and, of course, checklists. How can we bring this kind of regimentation to the complex routines of our futsal and soccer activities?

There’s a lot of work to do on that front, but in the meantime, we had a very successful day. The futsal clinic at Lyon Park this morning got off to a rocky start, when we found the gym locked and confusion on the part of the management about when we were supposed to start. Our coach, Rob, got the kids busy outside while I sorted it out. We had 12 kids, which made for two spirited 3v3 games. I think 3v3 may be the ideal profile for children this age, particularly ones of average skill. The focus of the morning’s drills had been trapping and passing, and to our delight, the children began passing while playing 3v3.

Rob and the kids outside the gym at Lyon Park
Locked out of the gym

Then my wife and I hurtled north to Snow Hill Road Park to launch Durham Atlético’s first outdoor soccer league. It went surprisingly well, and most everyone seemed pleased, even though the high noon temperature was about 90 degrees. The four teams were well matched, and the grass was in good condition. The only concerns are the field’s length–at 98 yards, it’s a good 20 yards longer than what is ideal for 8v8 soccer with out-of-shape adults of ordinary skill–and also the start times. One team thinks we need to start our games later in the day, due to their work schedules. We’ll see.

Adidas Brazuca
Fancy new balls

I threw down $200 for this pair of balls. They normally sell for $150 each, but I got these premium match balls, replicas of the official ball of the 2014 World Cup, in a “mystery ball” promotion that uses to liquidate overstock that they’re apparently not allowed to discount. It was a splurge, but I think it’s well worth it to put decent balls out on the pitch for our first soccer season.

After we came home I took a shower, but only after weighing myself and being thrilled to be down to 175 (and down a couple quarts of water, too). I finished a book called “Move Fast and Break Things,” about which I hope to write soon.

At sunset, I went to the Eno Quarry. I hadn’t been there in a year, when, on a similar late-summer evening, I’d gone with my friend Marc and our friend from college, Steve. That was a lovely end to summer, full of middle-aged bliss and nostalgia. Tonight, there was me in the middle of the pond, sometimes swimming, sometimes hanging on the piece of floating timber. I lay on my back in the water and watched planes fly overhead. The sky was so blue I could see the dust particles on the surface of my eyes.

Shakespeare said it best, that summer’s lease hath all too short a date. But if you plan for it, if you use your time well, and if you try to mark the occasion of changing seasons, the passage of time doesn’t seem so frightening.

Tomorrow I am flying to Southern Pines with my flight instructor. He says I’m nearly ready to solo. I should be undergoing a pre-solo stage check with the club’s chief instructor soon.

It’ll be another exciting day tomorrow, but before I go to bed to make it arrive sooner, my wife and I are going to finish watching the Isabelle Huppert film “White Material.”

Remembering Grant Hart

Grant Hart died earlier this week. The musician and artist who rose to fame on the strength of his brilliant career with Hüsker Dü, was 56 years old. He was the group’s drummer, and he wrote and sang about half of the songs, including many of the most famous.

On a cold night nearly seven years ago, a friend and I saw him play in a Durham club. I wrote about the experience for the Indy.

It was, on one hand, a little upsetting to see Hart playing alone on stage in front of 50 people who’d paid $7 for the privilege. But then again, what else is there to do in this world?

Hart may deserve more, but I don’t get the feeling he particularly wants or needs it. He seemed shy, and oddly youthful. His face, worn as it was, still seemed guileless and even innocent. He fumbled with his guitar strap and amps, and made nervous, self-deprecating jokes. He opened with “Never Talking to You Again,” from which he segued into a verse from Hank Williams’ “You Win Again.”

Last night, I went to a house concert at the home of friends. The headliner was Iain Matthews of Fairport Convention fame. The opening act was Peter Holsapple, a Durham resident who made his reputation leading the 1980s guitar pop band dBs. He included a rendition of Grant’s song “Green Eyes.”

I learned on the Internet today that Grant wrote the song for his cat.

I didn’t get there in time for Holsapple’s set, but fortunately, one of the hosts made a video of his take on “Green Eyes.”

My excuse for arriving late: I was flying down in Harnett County Regional Airport (HRJ). It was the first sublime experience I’ve had in the air: We took off around 6 p.m., and it was sunset over the airport and the Cape Fear River. Enveloped by this soft glow, we circled and landed and circled and landed. I had a breakthrough, and I finally started nailing my landings. Then we flew back to Sanford, and spoke about my preparations for my first solo, which should happen soon now that I have unlocked the key to landing the plane safely.

Dü you remember: Grant Hart at Motorco | Music

NTSB Files: Eurocopter EC145 in Eastern North Carolina

Terrible aviation accident close to home. One of the two Life Flight helicopters operated by Duke University Health Systems crashed this morning in a remote part of eastern North Carolina. Mild temperatures, skies clear and a million. What happened to this Eurocopter EC145? Fuel exhaustion?

Each helicopter – both Eurocopter EC145s – can travel at about 150 mph and cover all of North Carolina and parts of South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. A typical flight includes two critical care providers, a pilot and a single patient. Team members work rotating 12-hour shifts.

Avery confirmed that the one that crashed bore the tail number N146DU. An FAA database indicates the twin-engined craft was manufactured in 2011.

UPDATE: Sept. 23, 2017

The NTSB preliminary report came out a few days ago. The chopper had plenty of fuel-it looks like there was an engine problem. Several witnesses reported seeing smoke trailing behind the airship, and the inspectors made the following notes about the engine:

The outboard 4 ft of No. 1 (yellow) blade came to rest in the 8 ft tall grass
adjacent to the drainage path. The grass on either side of the blade was undisturbed. The tail rotor shaft remained attached to the transmission. The transmission could not be rotated by hand.
No foreign object damage was found on the axial compressor blades of either engine. No damage was observed on the visible portions of the turbine blades at the rear of either engine. The gas generator of the No. 1 engine moved freely when rotated by hand, the No. 2 engine gas
generator would not rotate. The No. 1 engine fuel shutoff valve was found in the open position. The No. 2 engine fuel shutoff valve was damaged and its position could not be determined during the field examination. The No. 2 engine rear turbine shaft bearing exhibited discoloration consistent with overheating and lack of lubrication. The bearing roller pins were worn down to the surface of the bearing race. The end of the turbine shaft aft of the nut exhibited rotational nonuniform damage.