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April 20th, 2000

On The Journal Path, Part III
Let's see, the idea was to come to Los Angeles and shoot pictures with Chuck and Steve and then post them to our journals with some verbal sparring and pleasantry, and then, somehow, we got distracted by events and stumbled into all this interminable mutual admiration crap. In other words, a successful and not too stressful weekend for everyone except Chuck, who gets himself swacked on the very next day by a truck that takes off and leaves him for dead on the sidewalk. He (naturally), immediately upon regaining consciousness, staggers to the nearest computer and posts an entry. I now forget whether Beth beat him to it or not, but both admirably and unquestionably followed the Code.

A good time, perhaps, while Chuck is recovering, to clean up one or two misconceptions, now that I've The infamous four wheel drive truck. met Mr. Atkins in person and had the pleasure of riding in his "truck". I was, you see, under the impression that Chuck drove a Land Rover, one of those $50k (stripped) four wheel drive models that people like me, who are not buying a Jeep because we can't afford one, find an object of abysmal style and uncomfortably conspicuous consumption. The attitude you'd expect from a wannabe Jeepster. What Mr. Atkins actually owns is a heavy duty Toyota Land Cruiser. I recall they're not all that cheap either, we had a similarly battered one at my old winery, but he has a well used older model with authentic desert wind driven phone booth sand stuck in the bumpers. You really can't buy that. I was impressed, so naturally I kept my mouth shut.

We drove for an hour Sunday morning to pick up Steve and then went on to Pt. Magu. I have no idea where Mother's little helpers. Pt. Magu is, but then I have no idea where the airport is where I landed and someone had to tell me after the fact that I had been in the "Valley". This is not unusual. I was awake, coherent and with camera, and although I hadn't been to an air show since college, I was thinking there would be crowds and where there were crowds I would find pictures. What I ended up with was a bunch of teeny weenie little airplanes you can't quite make out inside little picture frames, but that was later, this was now, and I was hopeful and ready.

Yes, I know, but this really was taken at the air show.
Steve mentioned that flying had been his passion since he was a kid and that his eyes had kept him from becoming a commercial pilot. I have a cousin (named Steve, come to think of it) who wanted to fly in the worst possible way after high school and ended up flying for a local airline who's engines won't start. My father took up flying after the age of fifty and I remember flying with him once up the coast from New York to Martha's Vineyard just before they took his license away for failing a physical. A more perceptive son might have taken a clue from this that all was not well with his father, come to think of it, but that's another story for a later time.

I have never really liked to fly. Even the flight down, smooth and uneventful (except for the right engine not starting), had just the hint of an edge on it. I've always kind of liked the idea of float planes, though. Not the kind that sit up on sticks on two pontoons, but the kind that settle right down into the water with an engine on top and I could imagine myself circling and landing on an inland lake, drinking a whiskey neat as I watched the sun set upon a deserted shore. There was often an attractive woman along with me in this airplane fantasy making it difficult to concentrate on the instruments. I could never quite concentrate on the instruments. So much for becoming a pilot.

Anyway, we are at the Point Magu airport, we are after pictures, and although God is our copilot, none of the loop the loops the planes are turning just off the ground causes them to crash in flames in front of our cameras while we're shooting, so we don't make The Los Angeles Times or Aviation Weekly and the Pulitzer goes to some fool editor's brother out on a raft in the middle of an Antarctic sea shooting pictures of Penguins. Again.

The photographs were taken at the Point Magu Air Show in Los Angeles on April 9th.