Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

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I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


"That was a sad performance tonight," I stated.

I had a headache yesterday, and my flying gave me a bigger one. Zach assured me I had actually done well. I wasn't trolling for compliments, and he actually convinced me. I was unhappy with having flubbed the landing a bit, my first night flight and landing. During the flight we were working with power off stalls and power on stalls. The former is for learning recovery during approach, and the latter during takeoff. The power on stall is easier for me, the power off stalls I find trickier. I hate the shaking before the stall and the dropping of the nose. I was going into too much of a dive after the stall, which you don't want to do on final approach.

Going into a dive felt like a habit, and now that I write about it, I realize it was. The stalls we learned to recover from as navigators were stalls at altitude, during maneuvering, typically during evasions or dogfights. In that situation you want to pick up speed and going into a dive is a great way to do it. It was part of talking a pilot out of an unusual attitude should they get vertigo, and we practiced it a lot in simulators so we had the physical action in our minds to go along with it.

That old habit is something I need to relearn for landings. It shouldn't be too hard, as it was quite a while back and only used for a month or so in the training command. I pitched up too much coming in for the landing. Otherwise I'd set us up fairly well, as Zach touched down quite lightly and smoothly at or close to the numbers (the runway numbers, which is a good place to touch down). I'd probably have planted the main gear too solidly with the nose wheel a bit too high.

Those two aspects were all that was running through my mind as we secured the aircraft. Zach pointed out it was my third flight, and we were doing some relatively advanced procedures. My steep turns (45 degrees) were doing nicely, the last few I stayed right at altitude, and I started getting the hang of the power off stalls. Okay, that's true and the last two stalls were a lot better. Night flight is fun, but you need to keep a closer eye on the instruments as visuals can be pretty misleading, and I did that well.

It was good to have someone call me for fixating on the negative. You'd think I'd know better from the countless struggles with that very thing in my acting. Speaking of acting... Zach is a young guy, and hopes to become a commercial pilot. Like so many struggling young actors, he has a day job at Starbucks, the closest one I know of to my office. I thought that was wonderfully ironic. Out of the thirteen of us who finished ETI, at least three worked in coffee shops, and Ben also worked for Starbucks, the next to closest one to my office.

Small world. Overlapping cultures. There is a joy in flying. Quite different from acting on the surface, but something which enamors those who have a taste for it. Like acting. There is a sense of freedom, danger, and living in a larger world which comes with flying. Often, that joy is crushed by the exigencies of being a professional. Without going into dry detail, it is much the same for actors, and I suspect other artists. The Navy crushed much of that joy for me, though not utterly. Is it luck, maturity, or being an artist that has thus far prevented me from being crushed in theatre? I've seen it happen to others, and like flying it gives you both a sense of sadness and accomplishment because it requires so much sacrifice, dedication, and probably a mania of sorts.


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