August 30th, 2006


Can't keep my mind from the circling sky...

I shared one of my dreams with you all yesterday. Today, I shall share another one.

The dream of flight.

I've never been up in an aeroplane, but there's something about them that makes me feel like I want, maybe need, to be more than just a passenger.

I've been playing flight games for many years, starting with X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter on my first PC. Most of the games I've played have been Star Wars flight games, but that's not important right now. The point is that I want to be a pilot. I'm not bothered by the prestige of being the captain of a passenger jet. I'd be happy hauling freight in DC-8, even if said frieght is 50 thousand pounds of pineapples. But I definately want to fly more than little Cessnas. I want to be a jet pilot.

The chance of this happening is pretty remote, though. A lifelong love of aircraft coupled with a computer science degree do not a pilot make. But hey, that's what things like Flightgear are for, right? FG is a FOSS flight sim, with quite a range of aircraft and most, if not all of the world, to fly them in. Today, I've spent quite a lot of time in a BAC TSR-2 somewhere in the skies over Shimoji Island Air Base somewhere near Japan. If this means nothing to you, then I refer you to the anime Stratos 4, one of my all time favorites. I mean, wheee!!! I was flying the plane used in the anime (or at least, what the anime was based on - no rocket motor and RATOs for me) and taking off from the very airbase the girls are based at!! I managed to make it up to 57,000 feet before the engines died - nowhere near Mikaze's record of 182,600 (~ish) feet set in episode 3. But that's not really a surprise. Their TSR-2MSs are launched from a truck mounted rail-guide with RATO units that see them up to around 30,000 feet. Heh. At least I made it into the stratosphere ;) Don't know why the engines died, though... I mean, sure, 2 fuel tanks were empty, but tank 1 was still full - why wasn't it in use? Who knows...

I also managed to make the *best* landing ^_^. What do you do when you're 57,000 ft above the open sea, and your engines have just shut down? Glide. What do you do when you can't see where the ****ing island has gone, since it's dark? Well, ditch in the ocean, duh. But had it been a runway and not the ocean, then I would have come down very softly and properly. Pity, really... But it serves me right for leaving the afterburners on for the entire flight - I forgot just how much fuel they consume! Oops.

Some day I'm going to learn to fly for real. When I have lots of money, that is ;) Once I've "graduated" and can fly alone, I'm going to take Claire as my first passenger :) After all, she's been my co-pilot, my navi, my weapons officer and radar officer for so many years in the virtual world, it's only fair that she gets the honour of being my first passenger. It'll probably only be in a little Cessna, but even so, it's better than nothing. I won't be able to touch the stars, but if I can reach for the clouds...

"There's no sensation to compare with this,
suspended animation, a state of bliss,
Cant keep my eyes from the circling skies,
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit,


If you want to know more about aircraft, then I recommend checking out Wiki - there are some fasinating, exciting and scary things on there ^_^. Plus, of course, many, many beautiful fusions of art and technology - man-made wings that we call "aircraft". Such a word does not do them justice.

At some point, I'd like to go to Duxford again. It's a bit far for a day trip from Egham, but even so, I really want to go there again. They have a TSR-2, one of the few prototypes to survive the program's cancellation. And they might even still have their SR-71 Blackbird on display, a truly awe-inspiring craft.

And on a mostly unrelated note: Does anyone want to go and see Serpents on an Airliner Snakes on a Plane when I get back to Egham?

EDIT: Why does this only have 19 signatures???

Icy Background

Learn to use your words so we can/Communicate...

Oh. My. Goodness.

I've just got off the phone to BT. Bt Yahoo. BT Broadband Sales. BT Support. BT didn't-say-who-they-were.

Backtrack a bit.

In 2002 we signed up to BTOpenworld Broadband. 512 kbs-1. Fast for the times. At some point, we became customers of BT Yahoo. At some point we were upgraded to 2 Mbs-1.

And then BT launched BT Total Broadband. Dad was intrigued. I was consulted, and the decision to upgrade was made. Now, who do you think was given the task of doing it? Me, of course, but pretending to be Dad. Good thing, too, as even I had trouble staying calm and following what was going on.

We started by trying to web interface. That failed miserably, claiming that it couldn't find our account details.
So I rang BT Broadband Sales. They got so far, but their system asked for a MAC code, claiming that there was a tag on the line. So I was told to call BT Wholesale.

Called BT Wholesale. They refused to answer their phone, claiming that they were "Too Busy to proceed with my request." Seriously, WTF?

Eventually got through to Wholesale. They told me to call BT Sales, as there wasn't a tag on my line.

BT Sales told me that they'd placed an order with BT Yahoo to cancel our current service, and that BTY would call me in two days to tell me how it was going.
BT Yahoo didn't call yesterday (Two working days).

Called BT Yahoo. They transfered me elsewhere...

It all gets a bit hazy here, but I know that I was told that I wasn't with BT Yahoo, and hadn't been since December 2005, and that my broadband was appearing on my phone bill. The next person I talked to told me that none of that was true.

Finally, they managed to get a MAC code from BT Yahoo and place my order. At ****ing last. Seriously, I've spent hours on the phone to BT, and most of it was spent queued. They need more variety of music to play down the phone.

Oh, and I neglected to mention something. Originally, I was told that the system had "my" name misspelt in the e-mail address. By today, the only one that worked was the correctly spelt one.

Seriously, BT customer support needs to get their act together. If I'd have been the person I was claiming to be, then I'd have lost patience weeks ago and started shouting at the operators. *I* know it's not *their* fault, but seriously, the system needs to get sorted out!

I have a bit of a headache now. Thanks a bunch, BT.

Good afternoon.