Kim and me

Kim and me

Thursday, December 8, 2011


It's been an interesting year to say the least. As I look back, I'm grateful for so many things. First and foremost, I'm grateful for my wife Kim and my children Megan, Amber, Heather, Connor, and Logan. Where would I be without their love and support.

Of course Kim is my biggest support. Late last year when Deseret News contacted me about writing a travel blog for their paper and the Mormon Times, Kim was right there supporting me. The first article about Thailand's tiger temple was printed in the newspaper on New Year's day and I've had eleven more published since. Kim was there to offer advice, help with descriptions, and edit the final piece. Several of these pieces are still available in the online edition at the following links.

In adition to these, I also wrote one on the international firework competition in Montreal every summer and another one on Peru's ancient Inca civilization.

I love writing, I hope to continue to take advantage of this opportunity. Thank you Deseret News and my family.


Friday, December 2, 2011

This really sucks!

For over 16 years I've absolutely loved my job working as an Aviation Maintenance Technician for American Airlines. I've survived a pilots strike and a generally miserable relationship between management and labor. I was there the morning of 9/11 and listened to the deafening silence that night at work when all the planes in the country were parked, not being allowed to do what they were built for.

I've so enjoyed the travel benefits afforded to me and my family and for those who follow my books and articles in the Deseret News, you know how much I enjoy travel.

Now AA is faced with another challenge, one I'm not sure my seniority will survive. Three days ago, they petitioned for chapter 11 bankruptcy in a New York court. Now starts the painful scaling back as American becomes more lean, shedding unprofitable routes, escaping their massive debt, and scaling back numbers in the rank and file. (which may include me)

I've watched my company make bad business decisions continually. With our last CEO...Mr. Don Carty, we tried to save Canadian Airlines buy investing millions of dollars in hopes of keeping them as a Oneworld partner. After the expenditure, Air Canada purchased them and our money was lost. Mr. Carty also tried more room in coach by having the mechanics remove seats giving the passengers more leg room. Personally, I loved the extra room in my travels but we lost millions of lost revenue which resulted in us puting the seats back in. Mr. Carty also had to be the biggest airline so he purchased TWA after their 3rd entry into bankruptcy. Idiotic - almost criminal. He sold the cool routes and most the airplanes and kept the people. You may ask yourself why and all I can do is shrug. Carty is an idiot. BTW, he is now the CEO of Virgin America....he should be in prison in my humble opinion. He started our decline from profitability eleven years ago with his stupid decisions.

I think the worst thing Mr. Carty did was in 2003. During the economic downturn and post 9/11 reluctance for people to fly, he wrestled the labor unions into signing concessionary contracts which was suppose to keep my loved airline out of bankruptcy. Peronsally, I gave back 17 per cent of my wages, a week of vacation, sick time, and other benefits with the rest of my work group. We never got any of that back. But after all unions had signed on the dotted line, the news broke that Mr. Carty and the rest of the criminally minded executives gave themselves literally millions of dollars in bonuses, having taken the money from us. Nice...literally felt like crap after that one. And now we are in bankruptcy anyway.

I have no idea what the future holds for me. I hope I can keep my job but even I've applied for other airlines. I can't imagine not having the ability to fly around the world. Once you have it, its a hard thing to give up. I want to keep writing my novels as inspiration directs. But, unfortunately, its not up to me anymore. I do pray, not only for me, but for the rest of the work groups in my airline.

Hopefully, we'll be okay.