Tag Archives: Television

An Inside Look at the Japanese Horror

Millesevers Radiation Exposure Chart

My dear friends and followers.  I have received this private eMail from a Triple Seven United pilot caught in the Japanese Horror.  I offer it to give you an inside perspective.  I look forward to your comments!


“Update from Tokyo (UA 777 Capt) 

Hello all.  First of all, I’m OK.  (I know you’ve heard that one before….)  I was in Tokyo for “the big one”.  Here’s a bit of narrative and thoughts I have written during the last day and a half.  It’s a bit long.  Most of it written starting a few hours after the quake, but is a continuing journal also.  (Some of you have already received some of this)

March 11, 2011, I am just finishing up my 24 hour layover in Tokyo, Japan.  The trip from Los Angeles was pretty much uneventful, as is the layover.  I am freshly showered and just finishing dressing and packing my bags for the next leg of my trip to Singapore.  I am just starting to put my socks and shoes on, and will be ready for the hour taxi ride back to Narita Airport.  Just another exhausting all night flight to look forward to.

The taxi pickup time is 3:10 in the afternoon, which is 10:10 at night Los Angeles time.  At just a couple of minutes prior to 3:00 o’clock, it hit.  Not very strong at first, but strong enough that I know exactly what it is.  An earthquake.  Now, Japan just had a pretty strong 7.2 quake a week or so ago, so it’s probably just an aftershock.  I’ve been through 4 or 5 strong quakes in Los Angeles during my life, so my initial reaction is to just keep getting ready to check out.  No big deal.

This quake seems different though.  I’m no expert, but this one is starting to worry me.  I’m on the 17th floor of a 37 story hotel, and things are starting to get interesting.  One, this quake is getting stronger.  And two, it’s not going away.  It’s lasting longer than any I have been in.  I’m starting to get a bit worried, because it’s going on and on, and getting stronger and stronger.  It goes on for seconds, on into minutes.

I figure I better start to take this one seriously and make plans to bug out of here.  Actually, not much planning at all, I decide to get the hell out and rush to get my shoes and socks on.  I stand up and find out I can’t stand.  The building is rocking so hard I fall back down on the bed.  I get up and start to run to the door, and figure I better take some provisions with me.  So I turn around and head back to grab my bags that have some food bars and water already packed in them.  If I’m going to be stuck out on the street I want to have as much provisions as I can carry.  Maybe a dumb idea, but maybe not.

As I try to gather up all my stuff, I notice how bad this earthquake really is.  The room is creaking and moaning, cupboards are rattling, drawers are sliding, and I am falling down.  This is really a bad one.  I look out the window and can’t believe my eyes.  Another building across the street, maybe about 150 feet away, and another one beyond that, probably another 100 or 150 feet are moving.  Really swaying.  I mean REALLY swaying.  I can see them moving 5 or 10 feet back and forth.  The perspective is something that only Hollywood could produce.  Massive buildings rocking back and forth.

Up to this point I wasn’t really scared, that is till I see those buildings moving.  That sight brings a new reality to the situation.  Now, I actually think that this might be my last moments on earth.  I am in a tall building that is rocking and rolling, and as far as I’m concerned, is acting like it will fall down any second.  The quake has been going on not for just seconds, but for minutes, and seems like hours.  Now my mind is racing.  I am starting to second guess every thought I have.  Do I stay?  Do I go?  Do I leave everything?  Do I take everything?  What do I do?  Where do I go?

My heart is racing, my adrenalin is pumping, and my legs seem to be getting weaker.  This quake rocks on for about four minutes.  FOUR MINUTES!  That’s an eternity.

I make my decision and go for it.  I grab my two bags and head out.  My room is right next to a fire escape, and that’s where I head.  I break the plastic lock cover off the door and try to open it.  The lock won’t turn.  I try harder.  It finally turns and I get it unlocked.  I try to open the door and it won’t open.  The doorknob turns, but the door is wedged shut.  I take a step back and put my shoulder into it.  It finally pops open with a thud.  I’m out on the balcony and head for the stairway door, but it’s hard to open as well.  I finally get it open, and grab my bags to head down.

The second I start down, a hotel employee yells at me to come back.  He tells me to go with him.  So, I turn around and head back down the hallway, past my room, and into the employee section and stairwell.  I start down.  Carrying my bags is hard enough, but down stairs is harder, and down 17 flights is really hard.  The employee is staying with me though, and offering to carry my bags.  But I persevere and continue down, down, down till I finally come out in the lobby level.  I’m sweating, winded, and still a bit scared.

Well, I feel safer now, being out of that building.  Well not all the way out, but in the lobby at least.  I meet with my co-pilot and some other United crews.  There are a lot of people all milling around now.  We are supposed to go to the airport, but nobody really knows for sure.  Our taxi is here and ready, but I get hold of a phone and call United to see if they have a plan.  Of course not.  Well, it has only been 10 or 15 minutes since the quake and….  Oh shit, As I’m talking to the duty manager, an aftershock hits.  A big one.  I run out to the front of the hotel to get in the clear.

But in the middle of a big city downtown, there is no clear.  I can certainly see sky, but on the other hand I can see more buildings than sky.  If one of those suckers decides to fall down, there is really no place to go.

It’s not long, and we find out that the hi-way is closed; the airport is evacuated, and then closed.  We really have no place to go, so, we stay.  We still have water and electricity, so we are not as bad off as those poor people up to the north.

The rest of my day involves sitting in the hotel, on my computer trying to find out information, and riding out aftershocks.  I eventually get another room on the 14th floor, which doesn’t make me very happy, and again ride out aftershocks all night long.  Many, many aftershocks.  I don’t sleep all night.  My legs are still weak.  My hands are still shaking.

Airports closed.  Trains and subways stopped.  Oil refineries on fire.  Eleven nuclear plants shut down.  Hi-ways closed.

Now I hear a nuclear plant not far away is losing its cooling water, and a radiation leak is expected.  The area is being evacuated.

I turn the TV off, turn the lights off and try to get some sleep, but it’s futile.  The aftershocks are virtually continuous.  They are not real strong, but go on and on and on.  I timed a couple of them.  One lasted 12 minutes, and another 9 minutes.  There are a few moments of inactivity, but for the most part, it’s still rock and roll.

One reason for no sleep is the constant creaking in the floors, walls and ceiling.  It’s amazing, even the slightest movement starts a constant crescendo of creaking.   There is just no chance of sleeping, or even relaxing.  My adrenalin I think has been pumping for 14 hours now.  I’m weak, and shaky.  I really gave my legs a workout coming down all those stairs too.  They are pretty sore.

The news on the TV is just devastating.  The quake was pretty bad, but the real damage seems to be coming from the tsunami.  On top of that, there are a lot of fires breaking out too.  This is one of those natural disasters of epic proportion.  And here I am, smack dab in the middle of it.  Crap.

I phone United in hopes that they have a plan for us.  Well, they do, and it’s not what I expect.  They have us rescheduled to continue on our original schedule, just a day later.  What?  They are not getting us home?  I can’t believe it.  Well, maybe I can.

But from my perspective, It’s nuts to send us on.  I have had about 10 hours sleep in the last 48 hours, with virtually no chance of getting any more.  The building is just too noisy and moves too much to get any sleep.  I talked to Mark, and he’s pretty much the same.  So I’ll have about a day’s worth of sleep in 3 days.  That’s just nuts.  What the hell are they thinking?

But stiff upper lip and all that.  Damn the torpedoes, and carry on.  What a mess.

We eventually make it down to Singapore, a day late.  I pass out once I hit the bed, but only sleep 5 hours.  That makes about 20 hours of sleep in the last 85 or so.  Mark and I are both exhausted.  At least the hotel room isn’t swaying, although while laying in bed it seems like it is.  Funny what your mind does to you.

It’s been 48 hours since the quake now, and I just pulled up my schedule.  It shows us heading back to Narita (Tokyo) tomorrow morning.  I haven’t talked to anyone at United, but from what I see on the news, I’m thinking that that is not such a great idea.  Food shortages and power outages in Tokyo, not to mention at least two, and now maybe three nuclear plants in jeopardy of major damage and meltdowns.  I’ve had enough radiation exposure over the last year with all the CT scans I’ve had, I don’t want to fly through a radiation cloud and come home glowing green or growing a third eyeball in my forehead.  I’ll talk to the co-pilot and we will make a decision before the morning flight.  It will be a tough one.

My immediate plans for the rest of the day are to get a good meal, and a good night’s sleep.  I hope.

That’s about it from the war front.  I guess I should ask that you don’t reply, at least for a while.  I’m behind enough on my emails just being away from home for a week, not even counting all this mess.  Hopefully I’ll make it home soon.  Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts and support.


Cliff here.  Listening to CNN at 11:06 PM Wednesday.. “Pressure is rising in reactor Number 5, an up-to-now unaffected site.  This occured prior to every explosion in the other four reactors.  Americans are prohibited within 80 KM of this complex.  Anything you have heard about ‘current state’ of all six reactors is merely speculation and wishful thinking.  No one can get in, no cameras are working, and no instrumentation is working.  As of now, all is speculation and wishful thinking!”

Please understand that I have enough nuclear training to make myself dangerous.  My son, on the other hand, is as close to understanding what is happening there and any Senior Instructor of Initial Nuclear Training for Operators as anyone can be.  His insights have been very instructive to me.  Lastly, I built a ‘working’ nuclear reactor when I was 12, for a science project.  Yes, I won!

God help Japan!


Car of the Future

I thought that I’d give you a break from my constantly harping on about our book, and talk a little about my past and the future of the automobile!

I think that most of you know that I’m a “Car Guy”.  I have been since I was old

Driving down Big Creek Parkway

 enough to sit on my Dad’s lap on Big Creek Parkway, ‘driving’ home from Church.  I was 10 years old and it was a slick way to get me to church without much of a fuss!  Yes, there WERE psychologists in my family.  As you can see, the parkway has an asphalt surface today; back then it was ‘paved’ with large rocks – hardball-sized rocks.  In fact, my Mom tried to drive on that surface as she was learning to drive.  She hit the gas too hard and lost control; directly into “That Big Creek”.  She never drove again.

Partially because of the fact that I love cars and partially because I love very dry British humor, I make it a point of always trying to catch a show called “Top Gear”.  It comes from BBC America and it covers all things car, in a wonderfully skillful manner, and at the same time being outrageous.  In fact, there is not another show on TV that I am a slave to.  TV is just not that important to me; if I can learn something – fine.

Again, over the years, we have seen a constant parade of “Future Automobiles”.  I’ve subscribed to Motor Trend magazine since I could afford the subscription.  They have a habit of putting the contents and cover of their “…on this date, 50 years ago.” issue, inside the back cover.  Sadly, I now am re-living Motor Trend’s that I first saw in my youth.  That’s something that discourages me; I most likely will not see many of the ‘future cars’.

One that I think I will see is the GM Hy-Wire hydrogen-fueled automobileThis Link will take you to a video about this remarkable vehicle.  It is made even more entertaining for me as it is narrated by James May, one of the three ‘stars’ of Top Gear.  Take a look at the potential future. 

Leave a comment in the comment box below; tell me what you think. 

Remember, the first car may cost $6,000,000, but the second is much more affordable!


Something Different Today – Care of the Stricken

Today began with a wonderful spoof of the Black-Eyed Peas I’ve Got a Feeling, by the NBC crew (http://tiny.cc/3qke7).  It really started my day off on the correct foot!

Yesterday’s headline was that I received my Library of Congress Control Number for Views from Sandhausen.  This is a very big deal for me as it is the starting point to have our book archived there, forever!  I have (and do) have many goals for this book and this archiving is one of the biggest!

Walt is still slaving away typesetting the book at his office (FiveRainbows), with 35 degree temps and snow showers in the forecast.  I, on the other hand am looking at a cloudless sky and 71 degrees. 

I am slowly being consumed by this writing thing.  With Erik living his life and working amazing hours, I have the house to myself.  Our cat, SunnyD jumps up on my lap occasionally, just to ensure that I keep her bowl filled with food.  I’m not a big TV guy and a find most of the reality shows intolerable, and most of the network shows mindless babble.  I read as I always have read, but the rest of my life is writing.  I read about, I blog about it, I participate in news groups about, and, at this point in my life, I don’t think do without it.

Of course I try to keep in touch with my friends around the world.  I have a great conversation with my former boss and European colleague, John W. yesterday.  I think I’m guilty of doing a small ‘core dump’ on him, and if I did I’m sorry.  Today I received an email from another European colleague of mine, and a dear friend to Lynn and I.  She is going through a rough time and I tried to support her as well as I could from 5,000 miles away.  I decided to take a part of that support and turn it into an article for suite101.  I offer to all of you for your consideration.

On Giving Care to Others


I think it provides a perspective on care giving that might be considered as unique.


Public Isolation Project

There is a very interesting experiment going on in Portland, OR.  It is called The Public Isolation Project.  From the http://www.publicisolationproject.com/  website: “The Public Isolation Project consists of two symbiotic and simultaneous art pieces–Joshua Jay Elliott’s An Examinable Life and Cristin Norine’s The Future of Socializing.  An analog analogy of the contemporary experience of living in the Internet age, Cristin Norine is spending one month living within the confines of the bSIDE6 Gallery—in total view from the gallery’s windows.  Her isolation is alleviated solely by digital interactions with the outside world.  Viewers of the piece will reflect on their own expanded accessibility that technology has brought them.”

To understand some of the motivations behind the effort, this excerpt from Cristin’s blog gives some of the back story. 

“I haven’t spoken much about how this project came about so I thought I would explain a little.  I was driving home from a grad school recruiting event while talking to Josh. I was explaining what concepts I wanted to focus my portfolio on and he was telling me how he was bummed that his current project fell through.  Originally, Josh was going to have a person living in the space that would try and create the smallest carbon footprint possible, but the guy backed out.  It was on that phone call that I said, “Put me in the box.”  During the call we both realized that our concepts worked well together and it could be a great project.”

I find all of this fascinating; I urge you to follow the experiment that will go on for the next 20 days.  Cristin’s blog posts from days 1 through 11 will quickly bring you up to date.   The reason for my fascination is that I see a parallel between my situation; that of losing my wife Lynn 202 days ago, and Cristin’s situation.  I too am essentially isolated because I no longer have my best friend, with whom I spend 24 hours a day with, for 47 years (less time I spent at work).  We finished each other’s sentences for one another, had the same thoughts at the same time, and our walking through life was in complete synchronicity.  We could, and did, communicate with our eyes – and nothing else.   Lastly, we were probably the most tactile couple that you know; we shared dozens of kisses per day, we hugged constantly, and when we walked anywhere, Lynn’s hand was in mine.  Emblematic of our closeness was the ink drawing called “The Promise”, (by Robert Sexton) which I bought many years ago, and now hangs in my room (and always will).  Our joke was that no matter which of us passed away, we would revisit the one who lived – and move the picture on the living wall.  I’m waiting for Lynn’s spirit to move the picture, and I’m still hopeful.

Living with my son Erik is wonderful; I am comfortable, safe, have all of my needs met, and am blessed with the complete love and admiration that only a Son can provide. Erik has his own life to live, has a wonderful friend of his own to spend time with, and works outrageous hours.  He is doing exactly what he should be doing!

Lynn and I chose to leave our home in Cuyahoga Falls to seek adventure and new experiences.  We left 35 years of friends behind and feel guilty to this day about any pain that we caused by leaving.  After my assignment was completed, we chose to leave Germany where many more friends reside.  Circumstances conspired to move us out of Rotonda West, again, where many other friends live.  Here in Homosassa, other than Erik and his friend, I have no friends.  My remote friends have their own lives to live, and good old Cliff is not top of mind for them.  I have always been blessed with close friends and I am lost without them!

I am in a similar type of isolation; my window to the world is electronic, ranging from television to my iPhone.  I watch the golfers on the first green of the Southern Wood Golf Club, enjoy themselves.  They are but 60 yards from me but might as well be on TV, for all they do for me.  I am not made of money and must live within my means, made more difficult by the Views from Sandhausen project.  I reached out and have been hired by suite101, as a freelance writer.  I’m finding that, as much as I hate it, it doesn’t look I will ever be able to find an appropriate job again.  My means are limited which restricts my ability to get out and do things.  This is very different from our previous lives – where we were affluent and could do what we wanted, when we wanted.

Cristin can look out her window in Portland; can minimally interact with those on the street.  She, like I, miss the warm hugs, the occasional kisses, and the ability to touch another human.  So, I will continue to follow her project and learn any of the lessons that she learns.  Cristin has the promise of her isolation ending in three weeks. I, on the other hand, can only hope and pray that I will find another with whom I can share that most important, but underappreciated quality – Touch.


What a World We Live In!

During this author/Publisher/Marketer journey I am on, I spend a lot of time on Twitter.  What a great tool, particularly as delivered on my iPhone 3GS.  The iPhone phenomenon has been covered ad infinitum by others; all I know is what it does for me!  As I work on my Dell Desktop, I have CNN on the TV in my Study.  That provides me a backdrop, to gather news and to keep this lonely soul engaged.  By my side is my iPhone.  It presents me with tweets and text messages as they come in.  Per CNN just now, Apple sells 80,000 iPhones per day!  Imagine that!  From Twitter I received a link that enables me to watch   a massive dust storm over the Gobi desert (in Africa) from my modest dwelling in Florida.  Is this an exciting world, or what!

Speaking of excitement, my Views from Sandhausen book designer, Walt Shiel, Managing Partner of Five Rainbows, sent me a PDF of three interior book layout and style options!  Wow!  I had a few design ideas that I had passed along to Walt, but he took them and really produced some very compelling ideas.  Do you have any idea how many parts make up a page of a book?  Further, any idea, beyond the page itself, the other components that make up what you see when you pick a book up?  Unless you are a typesetter or book designer, you don’t.  All of these elements work together in a well done book, or fight against each other in very subtle ways.  You don’t even think about it.

Have you ever picked up a book, onlt to tire of it?  The story is compelling enough, the text is large enough, but there is that subtle something that causes you to stop picking it up and working your way through it.  That subtle something is the design of the book itself.  What you may have is headers that don’t work with footers, text style that slows you down, even though it is large enough, and confusion on how to find a particular part of the book.  All of these subtle nuances conspire against you in a way that causes you to put it down and move on.  A book unfinished will cause you to tell your friends about it and that is a Killer to book sales.  Of course, done well and with a compelling story, you won’t be able to put it down, and you will tell your friends about it! A well-designed book is a treasure and a joy to read, and probably keep.  That’s the product of a good book designer.

Long story short, I chose an amalgam of elements from the three options that Walt sent to me.  I know that some options can fight against others, within a style.  That is something we have to resolve, but now we have a good basis for our conversation.  Another step towards our goal on this 200th day since my wonderful Lynn left all of us.

Love each other


Views from Sandhausen Front Book Flap

It just occured to me that my editor Matt Jacob will be sending me his edits tomorrow, along with a final bill – and I have not sent him all of the copy that needs reviewed.  I had not written the book dust cover front inside flap content .  With no more than 10 minutes time, before Keith Olbermann comes on TV, I punched this (unedited) copy out. 

It think it is good; I’d be interested in feedback from many of the  2,567 blog followers.  Come on back to me.

 Foreign Service Assignments are Glamorous –Right?

Climb aboard this modern day journey to a foreign land.  Join the authors, Cliff and Lynn Feightner as they uproot their comfortable upper middle class life, and take the plunge into a Foreign Service Assignment – while in their early 50’s.  At a time when most people are moving their stock investments into bonds, and researching retirement communities, these intrepid adventurers sell everything that they have accumulated in their 40 years of marriage:  Jaguar, home, furniture, Tupperware and clothing – and move bare-bones to Europe.

Cliff, after a very successful career at a Fortune 100 company, accepts his CIO’s challenge and moves onto the biggest, most adventurous, and funny journey of their lives.  Travel with them as they set up home in a little village called Sandhausen, five kilometers south of Heidelberg Germany.  Knowing none of the language, having had only a few weeks to learn the culture, and looking forward to driving to work at 140 miles per hour on the Autobahn, they careen towards their future.

Explore with them as they stumble through: Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, England, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France.  With a rudimentary set of language skills, in a world that is covered in road signs in a foreign tongue, survive a major car crash; live in their flat in the winter as the windows are replaced (over a six week period).  Drive the legendary ‘Romantic Road’, explore centuries old castles, savor 100 year-old libations, and discover cuts of meat in the Metzgerei that defy understanding, from an unidentifiable group of animals.

Walk with them on their roller-coaster ride of new beginnings, new understandings and new friends – set in a humorous, casual style.  Views from Sandhausen: Experiences from a Foreign Service Assignment is the most recent, and one of the very few books available on this misunderstood subject!

Views from Sandhausen – Early Look from Day 68

Good Morning, a BIG day today!  Today I am posting a snippet from Day 68 of Views from Sandhausen: Experiences from a Foreign Service Assignment.  This short sample provides a cross-section of our life in Germany, with this piece talking about one of the many festivals that took place, too near to our home.  I hope you like it and want to know more about our journey! 

Another headline is that I’m sending in my Submission Information Form (SIF) to:  AuthorHouse .

In the SIF,  gathers the author’s design inputs and various elements of text (about the authors), etc., and this is the point where they really get busy.

We have waited a long time for this day to arrive; I can’t believe that we are finally at this point.  I just wish that my darling Lynn could see it.  Tomorrow would have been our 44th wedding anniversary.

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