Friday, May 30, 2008

Heading to St Maarten..........

Well, tomorrow morning I head off to SXM (St Maarten)...............should be a fun trip. Maria is taking an earlier flight down there since my flight is full. She's been dying to go to St Maarten, so I hope she's not disappointed. I'm ready to pack my bags and move there. I LOVE that place. I guess the good thing about her going there is that I don't have to buy her a refrigerator magnet. The cheese I buy in SXM is exquisite. Smoked Gouda (pronounced "gowda", NOT "goo-da" like I thought), is one of my favorites. And it's no problem bringing it back since it's been pasturized. Hopefully the sun stays out so I can get some nice photos of planes coming in for my website. This little white Islander (pictured) that I captured landing sure was high coming across the beach. Maybe he thought 7500 feet of runway wasn't enough........just kidding, and besides, it makes for a nice photo. I hope Maria enjoys this little "paradise island" as much as I do. I wonder if United Van Lines will deliver my stuff down there?????

Thursday, May 29, 2008


One thing I've noticed about Florida drivers is their total reluctance to use a turn signal. Either that or my car is one of the only cars in my part of the state that has operable signals. Are these things an option on vehicles now? I really have to wonder since they seem to be such a "novelty" down here. I did see a car going down I-95 today with his emergency flashers on, so I figured he wasn't sure whether he wanted to go left or right so he just covered all the bases as he proceeded merrily down the middle lane at 48 mph. My girlfriend knows how much this "signal thing" bothers me, so tonight she really did her best to impress me. We drove the 25 miles from my house to hers, without her using her signal until we were pulling into her parking space at her condo.........andnot a single soul was there to observe this historic moment, but ME. Thanks Maria!!!

Karl Novak

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Here's a good reason to carry a camera. Some people take their families to the beach, others their pets, and, well, just make up your own conclusion............


I've been looking at making a "dream home" investment the past few weeks. Real estate here in Florida has taken a dive, and now seems like just as good a time as any to make a "bargain" purchase. I've been looking at an INCREDIBLE oceanfront condo on the 5th floor, not far from where I live. The dilemma? The condo fee is approximately $650 a month. The fee includes building insurance, cable, and water. It is a gorgeous building and the condo I'm looking at was recently upgraded with over $50,000 worth of improvements. Great views, beautiful interior, and ready to move in..............all for around $250,000......with a nice ocean and inland waterway view. Hmmmmmm..............what a time to be stretched thin on money. I keep thinking though that the initial outlay might be well worth it, despite the hefty maintenance fee.......... IF the market rebounds. This could well be a great investment opportunity. Decisions, decisions..............I'll keep you posted. (And NO, I won't tell anyone where it is............until I've made my decision. :-) )

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Home again! Finally back home in Hollywood, FL, for a few days. My best friend and his wife, Pat and Debbie Mooney from Albuquerque, NM, paid me a visit and not only cleaned my condo, but left me two gift cards for dinner at my favorite local restaurants just for letting them stay at my place for a few days. Thanks guys, you are always welcome, FREE of charge. Had breakfast at my local hangout (Coral Rose) and then went home to print up some photos. One of the agents at the airport stopped me this morning and asked if I'd make him up some airplane photos that I took at the Ft Lauderdale airport. They will be used as gifts for retiring agents. It's always nice to have people ask for your "art". I guess that's what keeps me taking photos of planes, iguanas, sunsets, beaches, and just about anything else that catches my eye. I'll post a shot or two of my girlfriend's kids one day. THEY are impressive! You'll see.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Well, I'm sitting at my computer in Columbus, OH (CMH). Supposed to have severe thunderstorms this afternoon, so I'm hoping we're able to get out of here before that occurs. CMH seems to be a place I always get delayed trying to leave. One thing I know for sure is that this place is NOT very exciting during a holiday weekend. We're staying downtown and I think I've seen a total of 40 people since we arrived. I'm beginning to wonder if anyone lives here. Hot spot it's not. Today we head to Houston (IAH), and then back to Newark (EWR) and arrive around 0130 in the morning. Then back to Hollywood for three days off in my favorite city. Maria wants more stuff for my blog so we'll work on that while I'm home. Hopefully this venture will be a good one. Maria is sooooo excited about this blog stuff. Thanks for taking the time to do this for me Maria. It's a good thing she's computer savy because I'm a computer dummy and don't have the first clue as what to do. Guess I'll stick to flying and photos. Happy Memorial Day. BTW, here's a shot in Cleveland (CLE) a few weeks ago during a "freak" snowstorm. Now you know why I live in Hollywood, FL.............woooo hooo!!! ;-)

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Today we flew from West Palm Beach, FL (PBI), to Houston Intercontinental (IAH). Nice flight, but WOW.....fuel is going to kill us!!! $3.98 per gallon for jet fuel, and when you're burning one gallon per second in the climb for the first 7-8 minutes you can see how expensive this aviation stuff is getting. But today we not only had high fuel prices, air traffic control (ATC) decided to take us off our route SEVEN times for "spacing" into Houston. The wouldn't let us slow down or speed up, so we wasted hundreds of gallons of fuel GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!!! Amazing......... I'm sure if the government had to buy our fuel, they'd invest some money in updating our "third world country" air traffic control system, which seems to be stuck in the 1960's with it's outdated technology. Pretty sad in my book. The flight from IAH to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) was nice. We got to ride as "dead headers" (another term for crewmembers riding in the back to reposition for their next flight). I was talking to the flight attendants after they had completed their service when the topic of "favorite trips" came up. Mine, no questions asked, has ALWAYS been the small island in the Netherland Antilles, St Maarten (SXM). It has got to be one of the friendliest places I've been to in my life. Everyone LOVES being there! I also get to enjoy one of my hobby's and passions-----PHOTOGRAPHY! Taking shots of airplanes landing over the Maho Beach area in St Maarten is incredible, especially when some are as low as 15 or so FEET above the beach when they pass over your head!!! A lot of people think my photos are fake, but believe me, I'm not technilogically sophisticated enough to doctor my photos THAT good. :-) Besides, why doctor them when the real thing will do???? The beaches there are incredible too, as are the sunrises and sunsets. I LOVE THAT PLACE!!! I did show a few of my photos to the flight attendants working the SJU flight, and before long not only were they wanting to buy them from me, but the passengers in first class wanted some too. I've been handing out a lot of business cards lately, so I guess some folks like my work. Always nice to see someone want your "art" and act like it's the best they've ever seen. What an ego boost!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Well, here are my first blog comments. Maria has been on me for a while to do this, so it's going to FINALLY become a reality!!! Oil has been on my mind for a while. In an industry such as the airlines, all the focus has been on customer satisfaction, and not the fact that it's hard to be happy when you've taken paycuts, benefit cuts, and worry daily about your job security. Oil has just about put my industry out of business. The traveling public has been so mislead about the airlines that they really have no clue as to how it "really is". Let's take fuel for example. Today in PBI (West Palm Beach, FL) the cost of jet fuel for my airline was $3.98 a gallon. (The airlines are currently paying a premium called "crack spread" of about $36 a bbl for oil, so we are paying just shy of $170 a bbl right now, while the consumer sees $133 a bbl on TV.) A few short years ago jet fuel was around 72 cents a gallon!!! Yet the price of tickets has not gone up to compensate for this massive increase!! Our fuel bill from Newark, NJ, to PBI was approximately $8,500, and that's only a B-737 and accounted for NO delays along the way!! Factor in the price of the aircraft (approximately $5000 an hour) and you'll see that it runs approximately $20,500 for a 2:15 flight!!! Now let's include the crew, maintenance, takeoff and landing fees, gate leases, gate agents, reservations agents, advertising, headquarters/operations, cleaning crews, catering, rampers, etc., and you'll see just how expensive a quick trip can really be. Depressing isn't it? And yet so many passengers think their ticket is going to make us big $$$$$. At least I live in Hollywood, FL, and THAT is enough to help keep me happy. Maria, I'm FINALLY getting started on this blog for you!!! Thanks for making this a reality. Tomorrow I'll try and get some nice plane photos for my website! Check it out!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008